Show Summary Details

Page of
<p>Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use&#160;(for details see Privacy Policy).</p><p> Subscriber: null; date: 23 July 2019</p>

Bartók, Bélalocked

  • Malcolm Gillies

(b Nagyszentmiklós, Hungary [now Sînnicolau Mare, Romania], March 25, 1881; d New York, Sept 26, 1945). Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist and pianist. Although he earned his living mainly from teaching and playing the piano and was a relentless collector and analyst of folk music, Bartók is recognized today principally as a composer. His mature works were, however, highly influenced by his ethnomusicological studies, particularly those of Hungarian, Romanian and Slovak peasant musics. Throughout his life he was also receptive to a wide variety of Western musical influences, both contemporary (notably Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg) and historic; he acknowledged a change from a more Beethovenian to a more Bachian aesthetic stance in his works from 1926 onwards. He is now considered, along with Liszt, to be his country’s greatest composer, and, with Kodály and Dohnányi, a founding figure of 20th-century Hungarian musical culture.

Béla Bartók portrait

Budapest Bartók Achives

1. 1881–1903.

At the time of Bartók’s birth, Nagyszentmiklós was part of the northern end of the ethnically diverse southern Hungarian province of Torontál. There, his father, also Béla Bartók (1855–88), was headmaster of an agricultural school; his mother, Paula Voit (1857–1939), was a teacher. Both parents were keen amateur musicians, and early encouraged the young Béla’s musical development with dance pieces, and then with drumming. By the age of four he was able to play some 40 songs on the piano, and at five he started piano lessons with his mother. Impressions of a summer visit to Radegund, Austria, in 1887 led to one of his first compositions, Radegundi visszhang (‘Echo of Radegund’, 1891). At the age of seven Bartók was tested as having perfect pitch.

The earlier years of Bartók’s schooling were unsettled. Not only was he very shy, the supposed result of confinement because of a persistent rash during his first five years, but the premature death of his father in 1888 also caused the family to move frequently in the following six years. Paula Bartók sought teaching positions in provincial towns which were suitably equipped for the broader education of her son and daughter, Elza (1885–1955). A move to Nagyszöllős (now Vinogradov, Ukraine) in 1889 was followed by time in Nagyvárad (now Oradea, Romania) during 1891–2, and in the larger city of Pozsony (now Bratislava, Slovakia) during 1892–3. Finally, after eight months in Beszterce (now Bistriţa, Romania), where Bartók attended a German-language grammar school, the family was in April 1894 able to settle in Pozsony.

Despite these many moves and the periodic disruptions to Bartók’s general education, his musical talents were rapidly developing. His first compositions, from the early 1890s, were frequently dance pieces – waltzes, ländlers, mazurkas, and, especially, polkas which he often named after friends or family members. Also among his first band of 31 piano compositions (1890–94) were occasional programmatic works, such as the ten-part A Duna folyása (‘The Course of the Danube’, 1890–94) or A budapesti tornaverseny (‘Gymnastic Contest in Budapest’, 1890), and some early attempts in sonatina and theme-and-variation forms. Bartók’s pianistic dexterity rapidly increased during the early 1890s, and on 1 May 1892 he made his first public appearance, in Nagyszöllős, presenting a programme of works by Grünfeld, Raff and Beethoven, and his own The Course of the Danube.

At the Catholic Gymnasium in Pozsony, Bartók was soon appointed chapel organist, as successor to Ernő Dohnányi, and gained more specialized musical tuition from László Erkel and later Anton Hyrtl. During the school’s celebrations of the Hungarian millennium in 1896 Bartók provided the piano accompaniment to Kornél Ábrányi’s melodrama Rákóczi, and also played the piano in the school orchestra’s rendition of the ‘Rákóczi’ March. In Pozsony he became increasingly involved in the playing and composing of chamber music, with a first attempt, in 1895, at a sonata for violin and piano, in C minor (bb6); a string quartet (now lost) in C minor in 1896; and a piano quintet in C (also lost) in 1897. During these years, as he experienced the city’s concerts and occasional operas, his compositional style and harmonic vocabulary broadened from Classical to early Romantic models. By 1898, with two remarkably mature chamber works, the Piano Quartet in C minor bb13 and String Quartet in F major bb17, the imprints of Brahms and Schumann are strongly felt.

Bartók’s health was never robust; a long list of childhood diseases culminated in February 1899 with the start of serious lung problems, which caused him to devote many months to recuperation over the coming two years. During December 1898 and January 1899, nonetheless, he undertook auditions at the Vienna Conservatory and the Budapest Academy of Music, both of which were keen to admit him. Despite his fragile condition, Bartók also managed to matriculate in June 1899 with three excellent results (probably in mathematics, physics, scripture) and four good ones (Hungarian, Latin, Greek, German).

Since the ‘Compromise’ of 1867, which had established the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, Budapest had grown rapidly. By the turn of the century it had become a vibrant centre of Hungarian culture, and, with a population of three-quarters of a million, the sixth largest city in Europe. In 1875 an Academy of Music had been established there, with Liszt as its first president. Notwithstanding Vienna’s illustrious musical reputation, an offered scholarship and Pozsony’s proximity to the Austrian capital, Bartók decided to study in Budapest with the same professors who had taught Dohnányi: Thomán, a pupil of Liszt, for piano; Koessler, a pupil of Rheinberger, for composition. On entering the Academy in September 1899, he was granted advanced standing in both subjects.

In Budapest Bartók keenly attended the Opera and the Philharmonic, and started to look beyond chamber music models in his compositions. Earlier in 1899, while still living in Pozsony, he had composed a song for soprano and orchestra, Tiefblaue Veilchen bb18. Now, along with his Academy studies in harmony and counterpoint, he engaged in orchestration exercises and wrote short pieces for orchestra. During 1900–1 these included a Valcer (bb19/3) and a Scherzo in B♭ (bb19/4). From 1899 until early 1902, however, Bartók’s compositional zeal ebbed. He found Koessler a thorough and traditional if uninspiring teacher, who only raised a compositional block in him. Bartók’s composition exercises of this time were dutiful but unremarkable, with little suggestion of his later genius. His growing knowledge of the works of Wagner and Liszt did not yet provide a strong stimulus for his own writing.

‘From this stagnation I was roused as by a lightning stroke by the first performance in Budapest of Also sprach Zarathustra in 1902’, Bartók wrote in his autobiography of 1921. Richard Strauss’s music offered to Bartók some interim compositional solutions. In 1902 he drafted in piano short score a four-movement Symphony in E♭ (bb25), which merged a Straussian thematic and motivic technique with stylistic gestures of Liszt and popular nationalist rhythmic and melodic turns. He was still dissatisfied with this new amalgam of elements, and only fully orchestrated the third movement, a Scherzo. His only other substantial work of 1902, the Four Songs bb24, set texts of folk-like poetry by Lajos Pósa in a style drawn substantially from the clichés of popular art-song.

While Bartók’s compositional development had been sluggish, he had been attracting attention as a pianist. At his first public Academy concert, on 21 October 1901, he performed Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor. A critic from the Budapesti Napló reported that Bartók ‘thunders around on the piano like a little Jupiter. In fact, no piano student at the Academy today has a greater chance of following in Dohnányi’s tracks than he’. That was, indeed, Bartók’s aim. He remained close to his elder townsman through his later years at the Academy, and during the summer of 1903 took masterclasses with Dohnányi in Gmunden. Bartók gained further pianistic notice in late 1902, with private performances of his own piano transcription of Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, followed by its successful performance at a Tonkünstlerverein concert in Vienna during January 1903. This encouraged Hanslick to comment: ‘So, he must be a genius of a musician at any rate, but it is a pity that he goes in for Strauss’, a sentiment echoed by Koessler. Bartók’s reputation as a pianist was further enhanced by a brilliant final Academy examination performance of Liszt’s Rhapsodie espagnole on 25 May 1903.

2. 1903–8.

Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben provided Bartók with both the style and the structure for his next composition, Kossuth bb31, a ten-section symphonic poem which glorified Lajos Kossuth, the leader of the abortive Hungarian War of Independence from Austria in 1848–9. Bartók wrote Kossuth between April and August 1903, another period of nationalistic fervour concerned with the degree of independence of the Hungarian army. An irony, not lost on Bartók himself, was that this intensely patriotic work relied so heavily upon Strauss’s Germanic idiom.

2. Béla Bartók, aged 22

Budapest Bartók Achives

Kossuth and Bartók’s rendition of Ein Heldenleben were central to the launching of his career as a pianist-composer. Hans Richter, an early promoter also of Dohnányi, scheduled the work with his Hallé Orchestra in Manchester during February 1904, and provided opportunities for Bartók as a pianist. Meanwhile, during 1903 Bartók had been invited back to Vienna as soloist in Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ Concerto, while the sizeable audience at Bartók’s Berlin début on 14 December 1903, including Busoni and, at rehearsal, Nikisch, owed much to Godowsky’s reports of Bartók’s performing and compositional feats that year.

From 1903 until 1906 Bartók pursued an itinerant life, following performing or compositional opportunities as they presented themselves. There were substantial residencies in Vienna, Berlin and Pozsony, as well as Budapest, and he spent August and September 1905 in Paris, where he participated unsuccessfully in the Rubinstein competition both as composer (where no award was made) and pianist (where Backhaus gained the prize). However, despite a two-month tour of Spain and Portugal in 1906 with the Hungarian violinist Ferenc Vecsey, Bartók’s international performing career had effectively stalled by this point, and it was fortuitous that he was invited to replace Thomán on the piano staff of the Budapest Academy late the same year. He became tenured in 1909 and remained at the Academy (which in 1925 was renamed the Liszt Academy) until 1934. During 1907–9 Bartók all but gave up performing, although he played very occasionally in Academy concerts. One exception was his only appearance as a conductor, with the Berlin PO on 2 January 1909, when he directed a movement of his Second Suite.

Meanwhile, Bartók had begun to develop an enduring interest in peasant music. He realized that his compositional style still lacked originality and unity. His first two opus-numbered works, the Rhapsody for piano and Scherzo for piano and orchestra, for example, are ungainly stylistic and structural amalgams of Brahms, Strauss and Liszt, together with Hungarian identifiers, drawn either from patriotic compositions of Liszt, Mihály Mosonyi and Ferenc Erkel, or from stylized verbunkos and csárdás dances, popular art-songs or gypsy embellishing figures. Bartók was, however, yearning for a style which was autochthonously Hungarian – to its core, not just in its accoutrements. During May to November 1904 (except for some weeks at Bayreuth) he had stayed at the northern Hungarian resort of Gerlice Puszta (now Ratkó, Slovakia), where he split his time between piano practice and composition, finishing his Piano Quintet bb33, and writing the Rhapsody and Scherzo (originally titled Burlesque), both intended as showpieces for his forthcoming concerts. There he heard a Transylvanian-born maid, Lidi Dósa, singing in an adjacent room, and he noted down her songs. He did not yet appreciate the exact boundary between folksong and popular art-song, nor the different classes of Hungarian peasant music, but Dósa’s songs had inspired a new direction in Bartók’s thinking, as he wrote to his sister in December 1904: ‘Now I have a new plan: to collect the finest Hungarian folksongs and to raise them, adding the best possible piano accompaniments, to the level of art-song.’ The first, tentative fruits of this intention were his publication in February 1905 of his setting of a Székely (Transylvanian) song, Piros alma (‘Red Apple’) bb34, and a collection of settings of four folksongs (bb37), the second of which Bartók performed as a piano solo in the Rubinstein competition. In these earliest settings Bartók’s piano accompaniments still retain many Romantic flourishes, but already show a tendency towards writing in simple block chords and a use of rhythm which shadows rather than complements the melody. Yet Bartók was still some way from appreciating the full potential of folk music for creating a new home-grown style in his compositions. His Suite no.1 op.3 for orchestra (1905), despite his claim regarding its ‘Hungarianness’, self-consciously uses four-square ‘international’ thematic material within a five-movement cyclic structure, with frequent resort to Strauss in its orchestration. The Second Suite op.4 for small orchestra (originally Serenade), starts to show a way forward. While its first three movements, written in 1905, cling to national Romantic tenets, with a strong Lisztian influence in the second movement, its fourth and final movement, composed in 1907, commences with a short, pentatonic tune, and unveils a stark, spare texture, which he would develop in succeeding compositions.

On 18 March 1905 Bartók met Kodály, one year his junior, at the Budapest home of Emma Gruber (later Kodály’s wife). Like Bartók, Kodály had studied composition under Koessler; he was also taking a teaching diploma, and a year later completed a doctoral dissertation on the stanzaic structure of Hungarian folksong. So began an enduring artistic, scholarly and personal relationship, which sometimes rivalled that of the Schoenberg–Webern–Berg school in intensity but lacked its master-student characteristics. Kodály held the ethnological knowledge, which Bartók for all his enthusiasm then lacked. Bartók had more practical musical skills and phenomenal aural capacities. They soon found themselves teaching colleagues at the Academy of Music, collaborators in many ethnomusicological projects, and the frankest critics of each other’s compositions.

In March 1906 Bartók and Kodály issued a joint ‘appeal to the Hungarian people’ to support ‘a complete collection of folksongs, gathered with scholarly exactitude’, so setting a goal which remained far from realized even at Kodály’s death in 1967. Their appeal warned that the influx of ‘light music’ and many ‘imitation folksongs’ would render Hungarian traditional music extinct within a few decades. They called for subscribers to a collection of simple settings for voice and piano of 20 songs (bb42), collected by Béla Vikár and themselves, with the first ten arranged by Bartók and the remainder by Kodály. This collection appeared in December 1906, but drew a scant response from the Hungarian public. Bartók, already feeling alienated from the ‘rootless’ Germans and Jews so prominent in Budapest’s musical life, also now strongly resented the apeing of Western popular culture by the ethnic Hungarian aristocracy and middle class, as well as the undying urban popularity of the gypsy bands. The rural peasants, however, he came to idealize as the conveyors of the pure musical instincts of the nation. Their song was an unauthored ‘natural phenomenon’, with the potential of reforming the nation’s musical life, and also of reforming his own musical approach. While Kodály allowed his attention to encompass broader literary and historical aspects of Hungarian musical folklore, Bartók’s interests tended to be more strictly musical and class-related. Hence, he soon found himself becoming interested in the characteristics of the peasant music of the many ethnic minorities living within the Hungarian section of the Empire. As early as 1906 he started to collect Slovak folk music, followed in 1908 by Romanian, and he later collected much smaller numbers of Ruthenian, Serbian and Bulgarian tunes. His interest in the origins of the Hungarians even led him to plan trips further east, to the Csángó people in Moldavia and to the Chuvash and Tartar peoples living along the Volga River, although World War I banished all hope of such trips. He became fascinated not just with the transcription, analysis and classification of the many tunes he collected, but also with the comparisons between these different peasant musics and their dialects.

Ever since hearing Lidi Dósa’s singing in 1904 Bartók had wanted to travel to her homeland, Transylvania, the heartland of the Székely people in the far east of the Empire. His collecting trip to the Transylvanian province of Csík during July and August 1907, with a local assistant and two phonographs, proved a revelation. There, among the older people, he found many examples of anhemitonic (lacking semitones) pentatonic tunes and came to realize the pentatonic basis of much of the oldest stratum of Hungarian folk music. As Bartók collected and analyzed more Hungarian tunes he started to distinguish old-style and new-style melodies: the old most characterized by a parlando, poco rubato performance style, in ecclesiastical (commonly Aeolian or Dorian) or pentatonic modes, and tending to non-architectonic forms (ABCD, ABBC, for instance); the new performed tempo giusto, favouring Aeolian or major modes, and generally with architectonic forms (ABBA, AABA, for instance). Finally, he came to recognize a large class of ‘heterogeneous’ songs, showing some degree of foreign influence. In a dictionary article on Hungarian music of 1935 (Révai nagy lexicona) Bartók determined the percentages of these three classes of Hungarian peasant music as 9% old, 30% new and 61% heterogeneous.

Bartók’s Transylvanian tour of 1907 provided him with final proof that the renewal of his own style could be based on folk music. Folk music was not just a fertile field for arrangements, but also introduced a wealth of melodic, rhythmic, textural and formal models which might creatively be transformed, or transcended, in original composition. While still travelling in Transylvania he worked on the fourth movement of his Second Suite, with its pentatonic melody. Before the year was out he completed settings of three Csík folksongs, Gyergyóból (‘From Gyergyó’) bb45a for recorder and piano, and the first five of his Nyolc magyar népdal (‘Eight Hungarian Folksongs’) bb47 for voice and piano. Of these latter, three are parlando rubato with tales of sadness – the betrayed lover, the unhappily married woman, farewell – while the two tempo giusto songs are humorous.

When in Transylvania Bartók had also been working upon his own work of love, the Violin Concerto bb48a, written for and about his new infatuation, the violinist Stefi Geyer. Between passionate outpourings to her in a series of intimate letters about the meaning of life, religion and love, he was drafting a work of three movements, with the first depicting the ‘idealized Stefi Geyer, celestial and inward’, the second as ‘cheerful, witty, amusing’, and the third as ‘indifferent, cool and silent’. One ascending line of 3rds, D–F♯–A–C♯, the so-called ‘Geyer’ (or ‘Stefi’) motif, dominates the first movement, while a jagged permutation of descending direction characterizes the second. Bartók decided not to develop the ‘hateful’ third movement, leaving an unconventional two-movement fantasy-like composition, completed on 5 February 1908, just one week before Geyer terminated the relationship. When she chose not to play it, and other violinists showed little interest, Bartók combined the first movement with an orchestrated version of the last of his Fourteen Bagatelles, also based on the ‘Geyer’ motif, to create the Két portré (‘Two Portraits’) op.5. The two movements were titled ‘one ideal’ and ‘one grotesque’.

3. 1908–14.

The many piano pieces of 1908–11 show Bartók’s increasing confidence in using folk materials, as well as a growing emphasis upon grotesquerie, often in association with the ‘Geyer’ motif. Indeed, after this early Violin Concerto none of his works escapes a strong folk influence. In his later lecture ‘The Relation between Contemporary Hungarian Art Music and Folk Music’ (1941, in Béla Bartók Essays, 348–53), Bartók exemplified three types of arrangement: where the folk melody is mounted like a jewel (ex.1), where melody and accompaniment are almost equal in importance, and where the folk melody is a kind of inspirational ‘motto’ to be creatively developed (ex.2). In original compositions folk elements can be found either in the general spirit of the style, or in specific imitational features; Bartók gave Este a székelyeknél (‘Evening in Transylvania’) from his Ten Easy Pieces as an example which uses such imitation (ex.3).

Ex.1 Romanian Folk Dances (1915), movt 3, 1–8

Ex.2 Improvisations op.20 (1920), movt 7, 29–33

Ex.3 Ten Easy Pieces (1908), ‘Evening in Transylvania’, 30–1

The Fourteen Bagatelles op.6 (1908) drew from Busoni the comment ‘at last something truly new’. In these short pieces, of varying programmatic and abstract qualities, Bartók pioneered his new style of piano writing, devoid of the unessential embellishments and rippling excesses of late-Romantic piano figuration. The interval of the 7th, first found as a consonance in Bartók’s music at the conclusion of the Second Suite’s third movement, now assumed a role more equal to the 3rd and 5th, akin to its significance in pentatonic structures. Any sense of functional harmony is persistently undermined by the use of ostinato figures (nos.2, 3, 5, 10, 13), quasi-bitonal writing (nos.1, 13), streams of parallel 5ths and 7ths (no.4), of 4ths (no.11), of tritones (no.8), or of piled-up 3rds (nos.7, 9, 10). In pieces where dominant–tonic relations are invoked, they are soon subverted by dissonance (no.10) or mocked, as in the final Valse ‘Ma mie qui danse’ (no.14). Two of the pieces directly quote folksongs, an old Hungarian tune (no.4) and a Slovak song (no.5). ‘Elle est morte’ (no.13), written on the day Bartók received Geyer’s letter ending their relationship, mercilessly distorts features of her motif, until near the close it emerges in ‘pure’ form, at which point Bartók has written in the score ‘meghalt’ (‘she is dead’). The influence of Debussy, about whose works Bartók had recently learnt from Kodály, also lies behind several of the pieces, notably in the use of parallel chords, and in no.3, with its unchanging semitonal ostinato. Some other features, such as the use of 4th chords, could have been spurred either by Bartók’s recent folk-music experiences or by his knowledge of the latest trends of his Western contemporaries. As a whole the Fourteen Bagatelles laid down a blueprint both for Bartók’s new musical language and his new, leaner approach to keyboard writing.

Although Breitkopf & Härtel rejected Busoni’s recommendation of Bartók’s op.6 for publication, on the grounds that they were ‘too difficult and too modern for the public’, the pieces were soon accepted by the Budapest firm Károly Rozsnyai, which had already in March 1908 contracted Bartók to provide an educational edition of J.S. Bach’s Das wohltemperirte Clavier – the first of many historic editions which Bartók produced – and agreed to publish his next composition, the Ten Easy Pieces bb51 (1908). Rozsnyai also published Bartók’s first large collection of folksong arrangements, Gyermekeknek (‘For Children’) bb53 (1908–10), which comprised 42 Slovak and 43 Hungarian tunes. (Two of the Hungarian settings were actually by Emma Gruber, and were omitted, along with four other settings, in Bartók’s revision of 1943.) Bartók’s aim in the series was to acquaint young pianists with ‘the simple and non-Romantic beauties of folk music’. In other piano works of the 1908–11 period, such as the Két elégia (‘Two Elegies’) op.8b, he did sometimes return to the elaboration and stylized emotion of his earlier music. The Három burleszk (‘Three Burlesques’) op.8c unite both old and new aspects of Bartók’s piano writing with that capricious programmaticism seen in earlier compositions dedicated to his female friends. For the first Burlesque, dedicated to his student and soon-to-be wife Márta Ziegler, he explained in one of its drafts: ‘Please choose one of the titles: “Anger because of an interrupted visit” or “Rondoletto à capriccio” or “Vengeance is sweet” or “Play it if you can” or “November 27 [1908]”’. Another work dedicated to her, the first of the Vázlatok (‘Seven Sketches’) op.9b, is entitled ‘Leányi arckép’ (‘Portrait of a Girl’) and calls again on the ‘Geyer’ motif. In November 1909 Bartók married Márta Ziegler, and a son, Béla, was born in August 1910. Over the following 15 years she proved his worthy assistant as a copyist, translator and occasional folksong-collecting companion.

The First String Quartet op.7 (1908–9) is an exceptional work of stylistic transition. Although it betrays many disparate influences it is remarkably coherent. The Lento first movement, conceived as a funeral dirge, takes as its main theme the boisterous, jagged transformation of the ‘Geyer’ motif yet within a contrapuntal, Tristanesque mood of yearning; other late-Romantic influences are evident – those of Reger, about whose works Bartók and Geyer had been enthusiastic, and of Strauss. Yet Bartók’s quartet unfolds, in Kodály’s words, a ‘return to life’, with increasingly fast second and finale movements, which are more in keeping with his new, sparer style. The finale establishes the brusque, folk-like style used in the concluding movements of many later chamber works. It twice calls upon pentatonic phrases and in its introduction the cello parodies the opening of a popular Hungarian song, Csak egy szép lány (‘Just a Fair Girl’) by Elemér Szentirmai. The quartet was first performed on 19 March 1910, at one of the earliest concerts of the youthful Waldbauer-Kerpely Quartet, which would also provide the premières of his Second and Fourth Quartets

5. Bartók with Kodály (front right) and the Waldbauer-Kerpely Quartet (from left to right): Jenő Kerpely, Imre Waldbauer, Antal Molnár, János Temesváry

Budapest Bartók Achives

In the first half of 1910 Bartók’s recognition as a composer appeared to be growing, and with it requests for him to perform. At a ‘Hungarian festival’ concert in Paris on 12 March 1910 he played several of his own works, as well as pieces by Szendy and Kodály. A press comment about these ‘young barbarians’ from Hungary probably prompted Bartók to write one of his most popular piano pieces, the Allegro barbaro bb63, in the following year. In other works of 1910–12 French influences are at their most apparent, with Debussy’s mark perhaps being too readily identified, notably in the orchestral Két kép (‘Two Pictures’) op.10 and the Four Orchestral Pieces op.12. The intervening op.11, the one-act opera A Kékszakállú herceg vára (‘Bluebeard’s Castle’) (1911) is, however, a masterful Hungarian emulation of the realism of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande. Written to an expressionistic libretto by Béla Balázs about the ‘mystery of the soul’, the action of Bluebeard’s Castle is negligible, involving just two singing protagonists, Bluebeard and his new wife Judith, who progress through the opening of the eponymous castle’s seven doors, drawn by the woman’s curiosity. The opera’s climactic turning-point comes at the fifth door, to Bluebeard’s kingdom, after which Judith’s jealousy becomes obsessive, leading to her eventual entombment, along with all Bluebeard’s previous wives, and eternal darkness. Bartók’s work changed the course of Hungarian opera by successfully developing a fluid form of Hungarian declamation of Balázs’s ballad-like text, based largely upon the inflections of parlando rubato folksong. He also managed to characterize the protagonists modally: Bluebeard through smooth, pentatonic lines; Judith through more chromatic and angular writing. Bartók’s operatic conception owed much to Wagner, particularly in his use of a recurring minor-2nd ‘blood’ motif, while the orchestration is still indebted to Strauss, whose influence in other compositional respects had waned. The adjudicators of two Budapest opera competitions of 1911–12 nonetheless found little merit in this ‘unperformable’ work, and it was assigned to Bartók’s drawer.

The year 1912 signalled Bartók’s withdrawal from public musical life. He was increasingly seen as a radical, out of sympathy with the ruling musical clique led by such figures as the violinist Jenő Hubay. His efforts in 1911 to assist the formation of a New Hungarian Musical Society had, he felt, been futile, and he resigned from it in February 1912. He did not engage in serious composition in 1913, and saw no point in orchestrating his four op.12 pieces until there was some chance of their performance, which only occurred after the war. As a teacher, he was not generating a distinctive ‘school’, as did Hubay, Szendy or, later, Kodály, for he was fundamentally disinterested in questions of piano technique or didactic method. He did, however, in 1913 contribute nearly 50 easy pieces to the Zongoraiskola (‘Piano Method’) bb66, co-authored with Sándor Reschofsky, from which 18 were later selected for Kezdők zongoramuzsikája (‘The First Term at the Piano’, 1929). In one field, folk music, Bartók’s enthusiasms remained undiminished, and he was making reasonable professional progress. These ethnomusicological studies became his life’s mainstay during the following six years of isolation.

Since 1906 Bartók had engaged in many folk-music collecting tours, some in collaboration with Kodály, but many undertaken independently. As well as informing his composition – the first Slovak folksong settings (bb46) date from 1907, and the first Romanian-influenced work, Ket román tánc (‘Two Romanian Dances’) bb56 from 1909–10 – these tours had led to Bartók’s first ethnomusicological articles in 1908 and 1909. These were simple collections of transcriptions of melodies and texts of Transylvanian (Székely) and Transdanubian ballads. By the immediately pre-war years Bartók had developed more theoretical and speculative interests. His first essay on ‘Comparative Musical Folklore’ dates from 1912, and his first published book, about Romanian folksongs from the Hungarian county of Bihor (Bihár) which he had collected in 1909–10, appeared from the Romanian Academy in Bucharest in 1913. As a principle of grouping Bartók early came to adopt the system of the Finnish musicologist Ilmari Krohn, which had been endorsed in 1902–3 after a competition of the International Music Society. In Krohn’s system all songs were transposed so that their final note was G. Songs were then ordered according to the cadence patterns of each verse. Further differentiation was possible according to cadence types and song ranges. With a growing number of modifications, this strongly structural scheme remained the model for Bartók’s many later folk-music editions.

The richness of Romanian folk traditions, which in Bartók’s opinion surpassed the Hungarian because of the greater primitivism and isolation of the Romanian population within the Empire, led him in 1913 to collect folk music of the Romanians of the Hungarian province of Máramaros (Maramureş). Bartók’s excitement about this Máramaros material rivalled that surrounding his pentatonic discovery of 1907. It concerned his identification of an ancient cântec lung, or horă lungă. This ‘long melody’, or ‘long dance’, which he later identified in Arabic, Ukrainian and Persian musics, was strongly instrumental in character, improvisational, highly ornamented, and of indeterminate structure. Until 1913 virtually all of Bartók’s collecting had taken place within Hungary. During June 1913, however, his comparative ethnomusicological interests drew him to north Africa, where among the Berber people around the oasis town of Biskra (now in Algeria) he experienced a folk music strikingly different from that of eastern Europe, in the narrower range and changeability of its scales and the almost constant drumming which accompanied most strict-time melodies. Both his Máramaros and north-African collections were prepared by 1914, but were, because of the war, delayed in publication.

4. 1914–26.

Holidaying in France during July 1914, Bartók was almost caught unawares by the rush into World War I. For several months, as the Russians made incursions into the eastern provinces of Hungary, there were fears that even Budapest would be attacked; folk-music collecting became impossible. Bartók himself fearfully undertook several medical examinations, which however confirmed that he was unfit for service. Later, in lieu of military service, Kodály and Bartók were entrusted with the collection of folksongs from soldiers, which in January 1918 resulted in a patriotic concert in Vienna attended by Empress Zita. From Easter 1915, with the military situation stabilized, Bartók again resumed song collecting, mainly in Slovak regions fairly close to the capital, although in 1916 he ventured out into Transylvania on his task with the military. Romania’s sudden attack on Transylvania in August 1916 ensured, however, that his further collecting did not venture too far from the Hungarian plain.

Although Bartók hardly performed at all during the war, its years were bounteous in folk-music arrangements. While 1914 had seen the start of work on two Hungarian piano sets – Tizenöt magyar parasztdal (‘15 Hungarian Peasant Songs’) bb79 and Three Hungarian Folk Tunes bb80b – both of which were completed in 1918, 1915 was a ‘Romanian’ year: piano settings of Romanian Christmas Songs (Colinde) bb67, the Sonatina bb69 (in 1931 transcribed for orchestra as Erdélyi táncok, ‘Transylvanian Dances’); and one of Bartók’s most popular works, the Román nepi táncok (‘Romanian Folk Dances’) bb68. The period 1916–17, by turn, was fruitful with three sets of Slovak folksongs for a variety of vocal resources (bb73, 77, 78).

Bartók’s rate of composing original works was not impaired by his wartime conditions. Indeed, his isolation led to a more unified and concentrated compositional approach. With his three-movement Second String Quartet op.17 (1914–17) he maintained something of the nervous introspection of the First Quartet’s opening in the outer movements, but for the central Allegro molto capriccioso movement (with which he experienced the most difficulty in composition) he drew on inspiration from north Africa, in the limited range of its harsh tune, in the drumming accompaniment and in the exaggerated embellishments. The Piano Suite op.14 (1916) similarly shows in its third movement a north-African influence, with its urgent ostinato and limited scalar patterns. This suite, originally in five movements with the symmetrical pattern of movement tonalities B♭–F♯–B♭–D–B♭, was later reduced to four movements with the removal of the second-movement Andante, yet still retains a strong interest in pitch symmetries, above all in its Scherzo. In a radio interview of 1944 Bartók described his intention in this work of refining piano technique to achieve ‘a style more of bone and muscle’.

Also in 1916 Bartók deviated from his established pattern of vocal settings of folksongs to compose his only mature Lieder: two sets of Öt dal (‘Five Songs’), opp.15 and 16. The quality of the poetry differs greatly between the works. Op.15 is a setting in parlando declamatory style of four love poems by a young woman, Klára Gombossy, with whom Bartók was involved during his 1915–16 collecting tours in Slovakia, with an extra poem by another adolescent friend. Bartók soon realized the folly of his musical (and personal) ways, and ensured that these songs were neither published nor performed during his lifetime. The op.16 songs are settings of poems by Hungary’s leading progressive poet, Endre Ady. They exhibit a characteristic melancholy, with autumnal themes of isolation, loss and despair. Bartók’s style of setting is less folk-influenced in these songs, but rather reflects a continuation of German Lieder traditions, especially in the complementary rhythmic relationships between voice and piano. This work also pays stylistic homage to the composer Béla Reinitz, well known for his Ady settings, to whom Bartók dedicated the set in 1920.

Most significant professionally among Bartók’s wartime compositions was his one-act ballet A fából faragott királyfi (‘The Wooden Prince’) op.13, written to a scenario again by Balázs. The idea of this ballet had grown out of the visit of the Ballets Russes to Budapest in 1912. By March 1913 the Budapest Opera had requested a work from Bartók, but its composition and following orchestration had taken him until early 1917. In the journal Magyar színpad at the time of the ballet’s production Balázs described how the work reflects ‘that very common and profound tragedy when the creation becomes the rival of the creator, and of the pain and glory of the situation in which a woman prefers the poem to the poet, the picture to the painter’. Bartók crafted the work as a symmetrical tripartite symphonic poem, with the final part recalling materials from the first part in reverse order. Its music, as its plot, portrays the constant tension between the ideal prince and the grotesque puppet, who share the same thematic material.

Given Bartók’s fatalistic attitude towards his own compositions, he was surprised by the ballet’s highly successful première on 12 May 1917 under Egisto Tango (to whom he later dedicated the work). Not only did this success lead to many repeat performances of the work, but it also encouraged the Opera in Budapest to arrange for the première of Bluebeard’s Castle, which took place on 24 May 1918. Importantly for the future, the enterprising Viennese publisher Universal Edition now contracted to publish Bartók’s compositions, an event which he considered his ‘greatest success as a composer, so far’ and a sure road to greater international exposure. Universal worked hard to clear the backlog of the composer’s many unpublished pieces, and, despite Bartók’s frequent criticisms, remained his main publisher for the next two decades.

The last years of the 1910s witnessed widespread political and social dislocation in Hungary. Bartók and his family, living at Rákoskeresztúr, some kilometres east of Budapest, found transportation to the city increasingly difficult; food and fuel supplies became scarce; they had no electricity or running water. Medical help had to be brought from Budapest when in October 1918 Bartók succumbed to Spanish influenza during the pandemic. Finally in 1920 he was obliged to move to Budapest, where for two years his family took rooms in the apartment of the banker József Lukács. Meanwhile, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had collapsed. The new national boundaries, based on principles of majority ethnic self-determination and ratified by the Treaty of Trianon in 1920, saw Hungary stripped of those very areas of Transylvania and the northern, Slovak territories which Bartók had found ethnologically most interesting. For some years national tensions in the region ensured the unviability of collecting expeditions. Apart from a brief expedition to Turkey in November 1936 Bartók never again engaged in fieldwork, even within post-Trianon Hungary (as Kodály, for instance, continued to do). The remainder of his life was largely devoted to analyzing and categorizing his existing collection, which by 1918 numbered about 10,000 melodies (including 3,404 Romanian, 3,223 Slovak and 2,771 Hungarian), or to comparative studies involving knowledge of a large number of mainly eastern European collections.

With the succession of Hungarian governments during 1918–19 Bartók found himself courted for many positions, including director of the Opera, and head of a planned music department at the National Museum, although neither came to pass. In late October 1918 he was appointed by the liberal Károlyi government to be a member of the National Council, and under the short-lived communist government of Béla Kun in 1919 served on its music directorate, along with Kodály, Dohnányi and Reinitz. Bartók bore these rapidly changing events with apparent nonchalance, as he did the establishment of the right-wing rule of Miklós Horthy in the autumn of 1919. Yet he did think of settling abroad, with a first preference for Transylvania (by then part of Romania), followed by Austria or Germany. Of greater day-to-day significance to him was the continuation of sabbatical leave from the Academy of Music and of his attachment to the ethnographic department of the National Museum, both of which ceased in mid-1920. In 1920 he also had to fend off the first of several challenges in the press from the Hungarian right wing that, through his recent folk-music work, he was a supporter of the Romanian national cause and a traitor to Hungary. (This did not stop him in later years being accused by the Romanian authorities of being a Hungarian revisionist.)

Amid this turbulence Bartók succeeded in writing his iconoclastic pantomime A csodálatos mandarin (‘The Miraculous Mandarin’) op.19. He drafted the work in short score to a scenario by Menyhért (Melchior) Lengyel between October 1918 and May 1919, but only orchestrated it in 1924. Lengyel’s is a superficially sordid plot about a prostitute, her ‘minders’ and clients, with a deeper message, conveyed by her last client, the Mandarin, about the powers of human love. The unsavoury aspect of the work caused it to be withdrawn immediately after its November 1926 première in Cologne, and contributed to the continual postponement of its Budapest première until December 1945, after the composer’s death. Bartók approached the narrative in a mosaic-like way, using brief intervallically-determined ‘tone patches’ of variable tonal clarity and density of texture, which parallel the fluctuating sense of tension. The Miraculous Mandarin is, however, much more than graphic ‘mime music’. Through various revisions up until 1931 Bartók refined a truly symphonic concept based upon his musical symbols of desire and love. It was a continual frustration to him, then, that this work, which he considered one of his finest compositions, so languished, while The Wooden Prince, a work he soon came to dislike, was staged more frequently.

With Mandarin and its immediate predecessor, the Three Studies op.18 for piano, Bartók launched into his most radical, Expressionist phase (1918–22), during which he believed he was approaching some kind of atonal goal. In his essay ‘Das Problem der neuen Musik’ (Melos, i/5, 1920, pp.107–10) he referred four times to Schoenberg, and recognized the need ‘for the equality of rights of the individual 12 tones’; he drew examples of the ‘previously undreamt-of wealth of transitory nuances [now] at our disposal’ from his own opp.18 and 19. The following Improvizációk magyar parasztdalokra (‘Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs’) op.20 (his last work to receive an opus number) also showed a bold linking of innovative techniques of folksong arrangement and atonal direction. In ‘The Relation of Folk-Song to the Development of the Art Music of Our Time’ (The Sackbut, ii/1, 1921, pp.5–11) Bartók explained that ‘the opposition of the two tendencies reveals all the more clearly the individual properties of each, while the effect of the whole becomes all the more powerful’; he further wrote of the peasant tunes saving such works as op.20 from a ‘wearying or surfeiting extreme’. Yet towards the end of the 1920s Bartók claimed, in apparent contradiction to such statements, that atonality was incompatible with a style based on (necessarily tonal) folk music. In an interview in 1929 he even suggested that tonality in his early postwar works was not lacking ‘but at times is more-or-less veiled either by idiosyncrasies of the harmonic texture or by temporary deviations in the melodic curves’; the Violin Sonatas nos.1 and 2 (bb84 and 85) for example, are, he maintained, in C♯ minor and C respectively. However, though these works of 1921–2 show further merging of folk-derived ideas and atonality, it is difficult to consider them in a key. Moreover, despite their titles, they only pay lip-service to traditional sonata principles. The first movement of the three-movement First Sonata adopts such a strongly variational approach to thematic materials that the point of recapitulation loses its traditional force. The two-movement Second Sonata, with its slower-faster progression is indebted to a rhapsodic model, while in long-term function the tritonal relationship F♯–C is of primary importance.

During the first half of the 1920s Bartók’s compositional output slackened, not least because of his intense ethnomusicological work. Already in an essay of January 1918 he had articulated his old–new stylistic distinction in Hungarian folk music; by 1921 Kodály and Bartók had finalized a modest collection of Hungarian folksongs from Transylvania, published two years later; in 1924 Bartók’s transcription and analysis of over 320 Hungarian songs was unveiled in his A magyar népdal. It appeared in German the following year, and in 1931 in English with the title Hungarian Folk Music. Bartók was also engaged during 1921–3 in compiling a two-volume study of some 1,800 Slovak peasant melodies, which he sent for publication in Czechoslovakia. (A third Slovak volume was completed in 1928, although all three remained unpublished during Bartók’s lifetime.) He then immediately moved to prepare a volume of Romanian Christmas songs, which occupied much of his time from late 1923 until April 1926. (After many trials, only the musical part of this study appeared in a self-funded edition in 1935.)

The other draw on Bartók’s time in the postwar years was his revitalized performing career. Amid the revolutionary atmosphere of 1918–19 he had unexpectedly re-emerged onto the concert platform, after seven years of virtual absence, with a willingness to perform in chamber, orchestral soloist and recitalist roles. One of his first Budapest concerts, on 21 April 1919, introduced his wartime compositions opp.14, 16 and 18 along with one of the earliest performances of the Second Quartet op.17. With the war over and Universal rapidly publishing his scores, Bartók was keen to grasp every opportunity for promoting his works through his own playing. Over the next 12 years he took part in over 300 concerts in 15 different countries. He also quickly took advantage of the promotional, as well as much-needed monetary, opportunities in writing for the international press, for which during 1920–21 he contributed over 20 scholarly or journalistic essays. Already by February 1920 he had re-established a performing connection with Berlin, where the conductor Hermann Scherchen and the theatrical entrepreneur Max Reinhardt sought to aid his cause. Further Hungarian performances and a concert tour of Romania (Transylvania) in February 1922 preceded a series of major performances during March to May of 1922 in Britain, France and Germany, which culminated in the German premières of Bluebeard’s Castle and The Wooden Prince on 13 May in Frankfurt. Bartók’s frequent partner in these concerts and further western European concerts in 1923 was the Hungarian-born violinist Jelly Arányi, to whom he dedicated both violin sonatas. Bartók was impressed by how seriously these sonatas were received, although his avowedly percussive approach to the keyboard was deemed unfortunate by many British critics, brought up on Matthay’s views about relaxation and use of weight. The critics also had difficulties comprehending the frequent thematic segregation which exists between the instruments’ parts in these two sonatas. Bartók’s higher profile soon led to his inclusion in an international chamber music festival in Salzburg in August 1922, after which the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) was founded. He became a staunch supporter of the ISCM; during the 1920s and 30s many of his pieces were performed, some for the first time, at its annual festivals. He served on its first festival jury in 1924, and was nominated to convene the aborted 1940 Budapest Festival.

Despite Bartók’s growing opportunities for performing internationally, which extended during 1923–5 to include Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy, he did not immediately start to compose new works for this audience. His only composition of 1923, the orchestral Táncszvit (‘Dance Suite’) bb86a, was commissioned as a companion to Kodály’s Psalmus hungaricus and Dohnányi’s Ünnepi nyitány (‘Festival Overture’) for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the union of Budapest. The style of the suite marked a retreat from his recent expressive radicality, not least through Bartók’s re-acceptance of an accommodating rather than oppositional relationship between tune and accompaniment. It employs idealized peasant musics in its six movements, which are played without a break and connected by a ritornello theme in a serene Hungarian style. Its first movement, for instance, recalls the chromatic ‘Arabic’ inflections, the second, a brash, minor-3rd-based Hungarian idiom, while the third movement introduces an imitation of Hungarian bagpipe music followed by a section suggesting Romanian folk violins. The later movements reflect a growing stylistic internationalism, culminating in the colourful medley of the sixth movement. Bartók had also drafted a Slovak-styled movement, but omitted this from the final version of the piece. His next composition, Falun (Dedinské scény) (‘Village Scenes’) bb87a was, however, a setting in five movements of old Slovak ceremonial melodies. These mainly Lydian or Mixolydian tunes were given inventive ‘motto’-like settings for female voice and piano; in 1926 the final three movements were arranged for female voices and chamber orchestra (bb87b) to a commission from the American League of Composers. The Village Scenes, with their themes of love, marriage and babies, are dedicated to Ditta Pásztory, whom Bartók had married in August 1923 following a sudden divorce from Márta Ziegler. Pásztory bore Bartók a son, Péter, in July 1924.

Apart from Village Scenes Bartók did not compose between August 1923 and June 1926, and by February 1925, as earlier in 1913–14, he was writing himself off as an ‘ex-composer’. Nevertheless, he did devote much time in 1924 to orchestrating The Miraculous Mandarin, when there were early hopes of a first performance in Germany. His Dance Suite, however, gained a highly publicized performance, under Václav Talich, at the Prague ISCM orchestral festival in May 1925, which catapulted Bartók’s work onto the international stage. Over the following two years it received over 60 performances in major European and American centres.

5. 1926–34.

Between March 1925 and March 1926 Bartók visited Italy at least four times. There his long-standing interest in Baroque music, previously centred upon Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, Rameau and Couperin, was roused by the keyboard music of such Italian Baroque composers as Benedetto Marcello, Michelangelo Rossi, Della Ciaia, Frescobaldi and Zipoli. From October 1926 he started to perform his own piano transcriptions of their works and those of their contemporaries, 11 of which he later refined for publication. This new Baroque passion, coupled with the stimuli of rhythmic discoveries in Romanian Christmas songs, the additional performance opportunities which radio now afforded, and the hearing of Stravinsky’s latest piano works (notably the Concerto for piano and wind), pushed Bartók into an almost frenzied phase of composition of piano works for his own performance. With these works of 1926 he initiated, in his own analysis, a fundamental creative shift from a Beethovenian ideal of artistic profundity to one more orientated towards the ultimate musical craftsman, Bach. In compositional process, however, he remained still a composer of essentially Romantic habit, a believer in inspired genius, whose music was ‘determined by instinct and sensibility’ rather than by theory, and who physically composed, as he explained in a 1925 interview, ‘between the desk and the piano’.

While Bartók’s international status had grown, his only available work for piano and orchestra remained the 1905 arrangement of the Rhapsody op.1 bb36b. By 1926, it was not only a stylistic anachronism, but also – as with the early Piano Quintet and First Suite – an occasional embarrassment for Bartók, when audiences took a liking to these early works over his more recent and dissonant compositions. From June to November 1926 he set about equipping himself with a new piano repertory: a three-movement Sonata (bb88), two collections of piano pieces, Szabadban (‘Out of Doors’) bb89 and Kilenc kis zongoradarab (‘Nine Little Piano Pieces’) bb90, and for his orchestral engagements the First Piano Concerto bb91. Three further short piano pieces later found a home within the Mikrokosmos collection. In these works of Bartók’s ‘piano year’, he provided a preview of so many of the qualities which were to come to fullest maturity in the works of his ‘golden age’, 1934–40. ‘Az éjszaka zenéje’ (‘The Night’s Music’) from Out of Doors, in depicting the nocturnal sounds of the Hungarian plain, introduced a genre of stylized representation of nature which would be repeatedly invoked up to his Third Piano Concerto of 1945. The ‘Menuetto’ from bb90 presented a pioneering example of Bartók’s principle of expansion and contraction of scalar intervals – in this case notably a major 2nd into a perfect 4th (see ex.4) – which would come to its most magisterial expression ten years later in the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta. The finale of the Sonata revealed Bartók’s skilful imitation of traditional styles in the service of his concept of unity through variation. The movement’s ritornello theme also provided the basis for the three intervening episodes, the first in imitation of vigorous peasant chanting, the second, of the peasant flute, and the third, of village fiddlers. Bartók drafted another longer episode, in bagpipe style, which developed a separate life as ‘Musettes’ (in bb89).

Ex.4 Nine Little Piano Pieces, Menuetto, 3–4, 9–10

Straddling the borderline between Baroque and barbarism is the hammering rhythmic impulse which underlies the First Piano Concerto. From this impulse spring the main themes of all three movements. In the commencement of the slow, middle movement that impulse also provides the mechanism for the integration of piano and percussion, which Bartók explored further a decade later in the Sonata for two pianos and percussion. The sharp-edged timbral world of Stravinsky’s Concerto for piano and wind is often alluded to in Bartók’s, but it is especially evident in the middle movement, from which the strings have been banished entirely. Bartók’s concerto, played first under Furtwängler at the 1927 ISCM Festival in Frankfurt, proved only moderately successful as a new carte-de-visite. Its first edition was so studded with errors that it had to be replaced, and Bartók also confessed in 1939 that ‘its writing is a bit difficult – one might even say very difficult! – as much for orchestra as for audience’. Even he found its solo part taxing, and with these experiences in mind he ensured that his Second Piano Concerto was more tuneful and less bristling with difficulties.

Having updated his piano repertory Bartók turned his attention in 1927–8 to chamber music, starting with the Third String Quartet (bb93), composed during the summer of 1927. In this quartet he attained the ultimate compression of his formal, pitch and rhythmic materials. Adorno (1929) wrote: ‘What is decisive is the formative power of the work; the iron concentration, the wholly original tectonics. The traditional four movements are here fused into a single movement of about 17 minutes’ duration. A new colouristic approach to string sonority is displayed, partly inspired by Berg’s Lyrische Suite, which Bartók had recently heard. The score bristles with ‘special effects’ – glissando, pizzicato, col legno, sul tasto, ponticello, martellato, muted passages, the use of exaggerating vibrato, strumming, and their combinations – all of which give the piece its startling piquancy. In October 1928 it was awarded joint first prize, with Casella’s Serenata, in a competition of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, where it was given its first performance on 30 December of the same year.

Meanwhile, during the summer of 1928, Bartók had composed his Fourth String Quartet bb95. While taking over the expanded palette of string sonorities of no.3, the Fourth is formally very different. Originally conceived in only four movements, Bartók then added another (the published fourth movement) to provide a symmetrical five-movement structure. The slow, third movement, in a style reminiscent of ‘The Night’s Music’ from Out of Doors, is the work’s kernel. The second movement’s tight thematic material is reflected, in more open guise, in the fourth, entirely pizzicato movement. The first movement’s themes are also loosely mirrored in the finale, which ends with a coda that borrows liberally from the first movement’s conclusion. Such symmetrical thinking about form had been evident in Bartók’s works since the 1910s, but had never been expressed by him as clearly, either in the music or in his own analysis. The pitch relations of the quartet operate at a high level of abstraction, with much interplay between contracted and expanded expressions of short cells, yet in rhythm certain folk models are more apparent. In the first movement, for instance, Bulgarian-type irregular rhythms are used; the third movement involves rhythmic elements of both ‘old’ Hungarian and Romanian horă lungă precedent.

Two further chamber works, the Violin Rhapsodies (bb94, 96), originate from 1928. They were intended for Bartók’s many performances with Hungarian violinists, as milder alternatives or adjuncts to his violin sonatas; but he also arranged them for violin and orchestra, as well as the first for cello and piano, on a request from Casals. Both pieces follow the traditional lassú–friss (slow–fast) rhapsodic pattern which Bartók knew so well from his scholarly work during the 1910s on Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsodies for that composer’s complete edition. Bartók’s Rhapsodies are cunningly devised concatenations of predominantly Romanian melodies, although Hungarian and Ruthenian tunes are represented. The First Rhapsody was dedicated to Szigeti, who had recently made a violin and piano arrangement of seven For Children pieces, and the Second to Székely, who had similarly arranged Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances.

The concerts for which Bartók had intended his many compositions of 1926–8 found willing entrepreneurs. The late 1920s were Bartók’s heyday as a pianist, with good offerings of concert opportunities, increasing radio work and, from 1928, contracts for producing gramophone records. By this time he often had the chance to specialize in playing his own works. When Bartók was granted a sabbatical from the Budapest Academy for 1927–8 he was finally able to realize a plan he had nurtured ever since graduating, of a concert tour of the USA. Notwithstanding the débâcle of the first two concerts on 22 and 23 December 1928, when the New York PO, under Mengelberg, proved unable to perform the First Piano Concerto and the Rhapsody op.1 had to be substituted at the last minute, Bartók’s two-month coast-to-coast tour, with its mixture of small lecture-recitals and large concert events, was a successful musical and promotional undertaking as well as a personally eye-opening experience. In America he performed especially with Szigeti and his former student Reiner, under whose baton the First Piano Concerto did eventually have its American première on 13 February 1928. By 1929 Bartók was starting to live the life of the itinerant performer. During that year’s first four months he undertook a three-week tour of the Soviet Union, followed by concerts in Switzerland, Denmark, Britain, Holland, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Hungary, where on 20 March he heard both his recent string quartets in sympathetically received performances from the Waldbauer-Kerpely Quartet. Even the pessimistic Bartók had good reason to be ‘relaxed and happy’, as his son reported of him on his 48th birthday.

Vocal music absorbed Bartók’s compositional energies during 1929–30. Kodály’s increasing list of Hungarian folksong arrangements jogged Bartók into contributing one last substantial set of voice and piano arrangements: Húsz magyar népdal (‘Twenty Hungarian Folksongs’) bb98. He grouped these songs thematically – four sad, four dancing, seven diverse and five new-style – but with no intention that they be performed in order. Bartók’s settings mostly fall within his creative, ‘motto’ approach. In publication it was not the music but the German song translations which caused the most acute problems, as had often been the case with previous vocal works, notably his settings of Ady in the Five Songs bb72. Unlike Kodály, Bartók was insistent upon an idiomatic German translation which faithfully maintained the east European musical rhythms but also adhered as far as possible to natural German word accentuation. With Twenty Hungarian Folksongs a publishing compromise was finally reached, with both poetic and literal translations being provided for some songs. During early 1930 Bartók also arranged his four-movement Magyar népdalok (‘Hungarian Folksongs’) bb99 for mixed chorus.

For the Cantata profanaA kilenc csodaszarvas’ (‘The Nine Enchanted Stags’) bb100, written during the summer of 1930, Bartók set his own poetic working of an ancient Romanian epic ballad for tenor and baritone soloists, chorus and orchestra. However, before making the score’s final copy, he replaced the text with a skilful Hungarian translation, of which he was particularly fond and later independently recorded. A three-movement work running without a break and anchored firmly in D, the cantata marked an important stage in Bartók’s long-term reversion to more overtly tonal writing and longer thematic statements. His strengthening interest in symmetries can be clearly illustrated by comparing the mirrored nature of the modes with which the work begins (D–E–F–G–A♭–B♭–C–D) and ends (D–E–F♯–G♯–A–B–C–D). This latter, Slovak-influenced ‘acoustic’ form (so-called because of its congruence with the lower degrees of the harmonic series), through its association with the cantata’s closing words ‘From clear and cooling mountain springs’, came to be recognized as Bartók’s symbol for the purity of nature. Of all Bartók’s compositions, the Cantata profana has elicited perhaps the greatest variety of interpretations of its overall musical form – implied four-movement structure (Ujfalussy), ‘large sonata form’ (Somfai), five-act classical dramatic form (Szabolcsi), to list but three – as well as of its textual message, with its components of initiation–transformation–purification, naturalistic freedom and pantheistic integration. Particularly in its aspects of generational conflict, the cantata has been seen as emblematic of Bartók’s response to the rising fascism of its time.

As Bartók approached his 50th birthday he attracted the accolades of international fame, and became more overtly committed to internationalist goals. In late 1930 he received news of awards, namely the French Légion d’Honneur and the Hungarian Corvin wreath. He was honoured again in 1932 with a Romanian cultural award. While his interests in national folk musics remained intense, he was tending to write more generally and more comparatively about folk music, culminating in his study Népzenénk és a szomszéd népek népzenéje (‘Our [Hungarian] Folk Music and the Folk Music of Neighbouring Peoples’) which first appeared in 1934. As a composer Bartók harboured, even into the early 1940s, the aim of adding two or three further ‘national’ parts to his Cantata profana, as a musical tribute to the increasingly tenuous brotherhood of Danube-basin peoples. As a performer, too, he more sought international than national acclaim, having decided in 1930 no longer to perform his own works in unresponsive Budapest. He maintained this ban until late 1936, although he still sometimes played his own works in other Hungarian towns and occasionally other composers’ music in the capital. None of Bartók’s major works of the 1930s or 1940s received its première in Budapest.

On 13 January 1931 Bartók’s internationalism took more concrete form in his acceptance of an invitation to join the Permanent Committee for Literature and the Arts of the League of Nations’ Commission for Intellectual Co-operation, where his colleagues included Thomas Mann, Gilbert Murray and Karel Čapek. Over the next five years he occasionally introduced proposals about musical issues requiring international collaboration – gramophone records, Urtext and facsimile editions – but in 1934 also framed a proposal about artistic and scientific freedom. His joining of the Permanent Committee coincided with his much-quoted statement of compositional internationalism, in a letter of 10 January 1931 to the Romanian diplomat and music historian, Octavian Beu. While recognizing the three sources of his creative work as Hungarian, Romanian and Slovak, with the strongest influence being Hungarian, Bartók expressed his belief in

the brotherhood of peoples, brotherhood in spite of all wars and conflicts. I try – to the best of my ability – to serve this idea in my music; therefore I don’t reject any influence, be it Slovak, Romanian, Arabic, or from any other source. The source must only be clean, fresh and healthy!

Bartók’s consolidation of a more thematic and less rhythmically reiterative style continued in his next major work, the Second Piano Concerto bb101, completed in October 1931. Symmetries abound at many pitch and rhythmic levels, as also in its overall five-part ‘bridge’ (ABCBA) structure, with the third movement being a free variation of the first, and the second movement of an Adagio–Scherzo–Adagio construction. Stravinsky is again a decided influence upon Bartók’s use of instruments – the strings are not used until the second movement – and upon his thematic material, which occasionally alludes to the early Parisian ballets, notably The Firebird and Petrushka. Apart from this concerto Bartók composed no substantial new works during 1931–4.

During these fallow years, coinciding with the worst years of the Depression, Bartók was occupied with several arrangements of existing compositions and series of miniature ‘educational’ pieces. His publishers, anxious to counter falling sales by promoting his more popular piano or vocal compositions in new quarters, encouraged him to engage in four orchestral arrangements: of his Sonatina (via Gertler’s violin and piano transcription) as Erdélyi táncok (‘Transylvanian Dances’) bb102b in 1931; of five of his piano pieces from 1908–11 in Magyar képek (‘Hungarian Sketches’) bb103 in 1931; of nine of his Tizenöt magyar parasztdal (‘Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs’) bb79 as Magyar parasztdalok (‘Hungarian Peasant Songs’) bb107 in 1933; and, in 1933, of five of his Húsz magyar népdal (‘Twenty Hungarian Folksongs’) (1929) as Magyar népdalok (‘Hungarian Folksongs’) bb108 for voice and orchestra. Bartók did not manage to complete other planned orchestrations of selected pieces from Out of Doors and Nine Little Piano Pieces; nor did he embark upon a planned ‘string symphony’ based on the Fourth String Quartet.

Apart from this relatively mechanical work of arrangement, Bartók composed the Forty-four Duos bb104 for violins during 1931. These pieces arose through a request from the German violin pedagogue Erich Doflein for permission to set some of Bartók’s For Children pieces in Doflein’s Geigenschulwerk. Bartók was excited by Doflein’s project and offered to write new pieces which would introduce simple folk music (or, in two numbers, imitations) from a much greater range of cultures: Romanian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Ukrainian and ‘Arabic’, as well as Slovak and Hungarian. When in 1932 Bartók saw many of these pieces within the context of Doflein’s five-volume progressive ‘violin school’, he formed a broader plan of his own: a series of piano pieces, graded from very easy to recital standard, which he later called Mikrokosmos (bb105). During the summer of 1932 he composed some 35 pieces, ranging in difficulty from ‘In Dorian Mode’ (no.32) to ‘Chromatic Invention III’ (no.145). When his young son, Péter, began piano lessons with his father in 1933, Bartók had an immediate incentive to compose many simple pieces; the same year he composed a further 30 pieces, including seven which eventually found their way into the first volume, comprising the easiest pieces, and nearly half of the sixth volume, the most difficult. Another 20 pieces were added to the collection in 1934, after which Bartók produced only occasional items until a second phase of intense activity in 1937–9.

6. 1934–40.

In the summer of 1934 Bartók achieved a professional goal he had desired for over two decades: a full-time position as an ethnomusicologist. Within weeks of Dohnányi being appointed director of the Budapest Academy of Music Bartók received permission to transfer to the Academy of Sciences, where for the following six years, in conjunction with Kodály, he led a small team of folk-music researchers in an omnibus Hungarian folk-music project. Bartók was overjoyed at the release from institutional teaching, although he still maintained a small number of private piano pupils to supplement his income. The Academy of Sciences’ project was based upon a proposal which Bartók and Kodály had originally made to the Kisfaludy Society in 1913 for a ‘complete, rigorously critical and exact publication’ of Hungarian folk music. The number of items, estimated at nearly 6,000 in 1913, had grown to about 14,000 by the time Bartók closed the collection in 1938. Of these about one fifth had been collected by Bartók himself. By 1940 he had succeeded in refining a complex, closed classification system for the melodies, which paid particular attention to rhythmic characteristics, and his team had transcribed or revised existing transcriptions of the tunes, yet he had managed neither to draft a justificatory introduction nor to address important editorial questions. More seriously, his classification system had diverged considerably from that which Kodály had understood would be used. (Over the years of their acquaintance Bartók and Kodály had come to differ on many fundamental questions on music, for instance on the relative melodic versus rhythmic importance in categorization, and even on how differentiated or normalized the ideal transcription should be.) Although both Bartók and Kodály are recognized as the general editors of the Academy’s A magyar népzene tára series, the first volume of which appeared in 1951, it was neither Bartók’s nor Kodály’s ‘system’ of classification which would ultimately prevail, but rather a principally genre-based one to which Pál Járdányi was a principal contributor. The first volume of the re-assembled Bartók system only appeared in 1991.

Bartók’s transfer to the Academy of Sciences gave him greater flexibility in engaging his interests in other folk musics. He made final revisions to his Slovak study in 1935–6 and continued to work on his Romanian collections, leading to an expensive, failed attempt at self-publication in 1940. The draft of another study, posthumously published as Turkish Folk Music from Asia Minor (Princeton, NJ, 1976), resulted from Bartók’s fieldwork in Anatolia during 1936, as part of his assignment to advise the Turkish authorities on the collecting of national folksong and other educational questions. He also further indulged his passion for east European folk music, in which he paid particular attention to south Slavic and Bulgarian musics. The irregular Bulgarian rhythms and metres, awareness of which had caused him considerably to revise his notations of Romanian folk music in the early 1930s, came to exert an important force upon his own compositions, and he developed but did not follow through plans to visit Bulgaria in 1935 to pursue these interests.

As a pianist Bartók started to claw back engagements from the depressed levels of 1932–4, and during 1934–40 he performed approximately equally at home and abroad. Engagements abroad were often hard to secure, due to the widespread popularity of ‘home preference’ schemes to assist local artists, to increasing tensions with Romania, and also to lack of opportunities for Bartók in Nazi Germany. Since 1933 German radio stations had not offered him engagements; after two years of negotiations to arrange an orchestral performance in Berlin, he finally in mid-1937 decided no longer to seek engagements in Germany. Accordingly, in the final years of the 1930s he performed more in Hungary, although he also developed some new touring circuits in Switzerland, the Low Countries and Italy, where he gave his last European performances abroad in December 1939. As a soloist during these years Bartók highlighted his Piano Concerto no.2, which was gaining a considerably better press than no.1. As a chamber player he forged an important new partnership, with his wife, Ditta. Their concert début took place on 16 January 1938, as the two pianists in the première of Bartók’s Sonata for two pianos and percussion. Over the following five years she was his frequent stage companion.

The years 1934–40 constituted, notwithstanding the slide towards war, the pinnacle of Bartók the composer; he produced masterpieces in each of his major genres: chamber, orchestral, vocal and piano music. The few works of his final American years are, despite their concert popularity, probably best seen as compositional addenda to these powerfully integrated creative statements. Apart from an arrangement for piano of several of the Forty-four Duos, entitled Petite suite (bb113), all pieces of this period are original compositions, nearly all written to commission. They exhibit a greater distance from any models of Bartók’s contemporaries than do the works of preceding or following periods, and are also less immediately reflective of his recent folk-music findings than hitherto. Their homogeneity of style is unparalleled in Bartók’s output, and reflects the full flowering of that Bachian aesthetic to which he had been gravitating since 1926. Technically, this achievement was partly the result of the advanced state of evolution of Bartók’s contrapuntal and chromatic writing, and also of his handling of variation. In his later Harvard lectures (1943) Bartók identified polymodal chromaticism as a main ingredient of his idiom. By this he meant a kind of chromaticism which draws its elements from strands of different modes based upon a single fundamental note; ex.5 shows a typical, Lydian-Phrygian polymodal construction. From this Bartók further developed a structural (that is, non-embellishing) type of ‘melodic new chromaticism’ in which earlier modal obligations are dispensed with, even though allegiance to one focal note is retained. The opening ‘Arabic’ melody in the Dance Suite was identified by Bartók as his first ‘new chromatic’ melody, while he also referred, in his lectures, to examples in a majority of the works of 1934–40, of which the twisting A-based fugal theme in the first movement of the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta is perhaps the most famous. The 12-note ‘row’ theme found in the outer movements of the Violin Concerto (bb117) of 1937–8 (Bartók’s second concerto for the instrument, though never numbered by the composer) is another instance of such chromaticism, with which, as reported by Yehudi Menuhin, Bartók ‘wanted to show Schoenberg that one can use all 12 tones and still remain tonal’.

Ex.5 Lydian-Phrygian polymodal chromaticism

Bartók’s fascination with documenting the ever-changing variants of folk music had by the mid-to-late 1930s also become an ingrained aspect of his compositional strategy. In 1937 he declared to the Belgian scholar Denijs Dille that ‘I do not like to repeat a musical thought unchanged, and I never repeat a detail unchanged …. The extreme variety that characterizes our folk music is, at the same time, a manifestation of my own nature’. That variational orientation is seen in Bartók’s very occasional theme-and-variation movements, such as the second movement of the Violin Concerto ‘no.2’; but much more in his frequent writing of finales as variants of opening movements, his incessant variation (often involving inversion) of exposition material in recapitulations, and his bar-by-bar evolving variation of thematic and motivic materials. It is not by chance that in over 30 statements of Bartók’s 12-note theme in the opening movement of the Violin Concerto no two statements are identical.

Most representative of the 1934–40 period, although each is of a very different construction, are four chamber works. Bartók’s last two string quartets, the Fifth (bb110) of 1934 and the Sixth (bb119) of 1939, frame the period’s output. Written to a commission from Elizabeth Sprague-Coolidge, the Fifth, like its predecessor, has five movements arranged symmetrically around the central, third movement, in this case a Scherzo and Trio in Bulgarian metres. Bartók’s variational play is seen nowhere better than in a banal ‘barrel-organ’ interlude near the end of the finale, which turns out to be an inverted, diatonic relative of that movement’s opening chromatic theme. By contrast, the Sixth String Quartet is in four movements, and stylistically retrospective, even nostalgic. Its mesto, solo viola ritornello theme recalls the opening dirge of the First Quartet, while the slow finale looks back to the grim ending of the Quartet no.2. Bartók originally intended to have a fast, dance-like finale, but the brooding ritornello came so to grow through the work – in duration, complexity and instrumental involvement – that it eventually consumed the entire role of finale.

Between these two quartets Bartók composed two chamber works for very different ensembles; in 1937 the Sonata for two pianos and percussion bb115, his only chamber work to involve percussion, and in 1938 Contrasts bb116, the only one to involve a wind instrument. The three orchestral works which Bartók had written since 1926 which used piano and percussion had convinced him that one piano could not provide sufficient balance to the sharp sounds of the percussion section – hence the Sonata’s instrumentation. Bartók demanded intricate coordination from the two percussionists (although six were used in one early Italian performance), not just in the virtuoso playing of their seven instruments but also in achieving subtle distinctions of sound quality through using different wooden or metal beaters, and even the blade of a pocket-knife. The three-movement structure, as with the immediately preceding Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, moves from a ‘closed’, twisting opening chromaticism to the open, ‘acoustic’ scale forms of the finale. Moreover, the larger and smaller sections of these two works were early identified to have an uncanny sense of proportion, which the Hungarian analyst Ernő Lendvai from the late 1940s onwards claimed as manifestations of golden section principles (See Fibonacci series, and Golden number). Although Bartók appears not to have known about such proportions, and many of Lendvai’s calculations have since been discredited, it is undeniable that a fine sense of proportion and of chromatic–diatonic balance was articulated in these two works. Altogether different in form and intention was Bartók’s Contrasts, commissioned by Benny Goodman as a light two-movement piece of about six minutes’ duration, with each movement to fit on one record side. Bartók, however, exceeded both duration and movement expectations by producing a three-movement work which lasts some 15 minutes. Within the original slow–fast rhapsodic frame, he inserted a ‘Relaxation’ movement in which the slowly moving clarinet and violin simultaneously mirror each other’s lines. In Contrasts Bartók formally acknowledged with the first movement’s title ‘Verbunkos’ the resurrection of that kind of stylized national dance which had characterized some of his earliest works, had then been rejected under the sway of peasant music, but had slowly been re-emerging since the violin rhapsodies of the late 1920s.

The most significant of his chamber-orchestral works of the period is Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta bb114, written for Paul Sacher and the Basle Chamber Orchestra during the summer of 1936. The piece shows great originality at all levels of its construction and seamlessly integrates the broadest range of Bartók’s folk-music and art-music sources. Formal and pitch symmetries are plentiful, as in the A–C–F♯–A tonal pattern of the four movements, the forward and reverse cycles of 5ths of the opening fugue, and the ABCBA ‘bridge’ form of the third-movement Adagio. Bartók’s variation of materials is constant, with a particularly poignant example in the finale, where, following the model of his Fifth Quartet, a calmo, rhythmically uniform version of the movement’s snappy opening theme momentarily halts the concluding rush. A sense of monothematicism is achieved through the reintroduction of the opening movement’s chromatic fugue theme in each succeeding movement: as a contour model for the second’s main subject, as the cement between each block of the third’s bridge form, and, using scalar expansion (ex.6), as a grand ‘acoustic’ transformation at the culmination of the finale. Less technically demanding and profound, but even more in keeping with Bartók’s Baroque aesthetic is the Divertimento bb118 of 1939, also composed for Sacher, which Bartók described as a cross between a concerto grosso and a concertino.

Ex.6 Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta: chromatic and ‘acoustic’ scalar bases, movt 1, 1–4 and movt 4, 203–8

The only work for full orchestra during the latter 1930s is the three-movement Violin Concerto ‘no.2’, written to a commission from Zoltán Székely. Not having written a violin concerto in three decades and never having heard a full performance of the earlier one, Bartók was nervous about the balance between soloist and orchestra. However, when he finally heard the work performed, in 1943, he was delighted that ‘nothing had to be changed’. The concerto is probably Bartók’s most diverse study in variation, not just in the theme and variations of the second movement, which is a virtual catalogue of his techniques, or in the ever-changing forms of his 12-note theme in the outer movements, but also in the way in which the third movement is derived entirely from first-movement material. To Székely, who had requested a traditional concerto, he confided: ‘so I managed to outwit you. I wrote variations after all’. Even within the first movement, thematic interrelationships and textural transformations are most ingenious: the placid solo violin melody in the development section, for instance, reveals itself to be a literal quotation of the movement’s opening pizzicato bass line. A verbunkos character is again present in the concerto’s opening, with its suggestion of Transylvanian fiddlers. As in several of Bartók’s later compositions, the ending was reworked to give a more expansive peroration in which the solo violin continues playing to the end.

During 1935–6 Bartók composed his last choral pieces, the Twenty-Seven Two- and Three-part Choruses bb111 for children’s and women’s choruses, and Elmúlt időkből (‘From Olden Times’) bb112, three songs for male chorus. Both works present Bartók’s own fashionings of folk texts, the short choruses dealing with the domestic world of childhood and adolescence, the longer male chorus songs with the joys and sorrows of peasant life. Kodály, for whose growing choral movement the Twenty-Seven Choruses were written, later wrote that Bartók’s recent studies of Palestrina might have been a source of inspiration for the heightened polyphonic plasticity and imitational resourcefulness found in these pieces. Despite the quality of Bartók’s writing these two works have not gained the level of international attention accorded to Bartók’s late instrumental works, partly because of their educational associations and partly because of the intractably Hungarian nature of their prosody.

At the same time as Bartók was writing this string of masterworks, his collection of Mikrokosmos piano pieces continued to grow. Already on 9 February 1937 he had given the public première of 27 of them at an ISCM concert in London, and he continued to unveil such selections in following years. During 1937 he composed ten, mainly more advanced pieces, including five of the ‘Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm’; these brought what became the sixth volume almost to completion. He added some 50 further pieces in the following two years, including much of the first volume, and also the 33 exercises. In the preface which Bartók sent with the completed collection of 153 pieces to his new publisher, Boosey & Hawkes, in November 1939, he drew attention to the versatility of the series. He had included a second piano part in four pieces, to encourage early ensemble playing, and another four pieces were songs (‘All instrumental study or training should really commence with the student singing’). Ten other pieces were recommended for playing on the harpsichord. Bartók stressed that his collection did not present a complete ‘progressive method’, but rather a base to which works by other composers, such as Bach and Czerny, should be added. In a letter to Boosey & Hawkes of 13 February 1940, he explained that he saw Mikrokosmos as a bridge leading from his own 20th-century shore to an older one, either through ‘centuries-old folk music’ or through such typical devices of older art music as canon and imitation. With the completion of both Mikrokosmos and the Sixth String Quartet in November 1939 Bartók entered his longest compositionally unproductive period, which lasted until 1943.

From his vantage point as a committee member of the League of Nations, Bartók was a direct witness to the deterioration in human rights and growing nationalistic intolerance which swept so many parts of Europe during the 1930s. His ethnomusicological work was still occasionally attacked by nationalists in both Hungary and Romania, and the publication of his Slovak collection was finally ruled out in early 1939, the victim of other nationalist tensions. Bartók was acutely distressed at Germany’s dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in 1938–9, but it was Germany’s annexation of Austria in March 1938 which had the most immediate effect upon him. Bartók’s then publisher, Universal, was rapidly Nazified, and his main royalty agencies, AKM and Austromechana, were merged with the corresponding German organizations. Bartók quickly sought to secure publication through Boosey & Hawkes, and to join the British PRS. His worries about when Hungary, too, might succumb to Nazi domination caused him in late 1937 to start thinking about a safe haven for his more valuable manuscripts, and in April 1938 to start their despatch, first to Switzerland, and then, via London, to the United States, where they later became the basis of the New York Bartók Archives. In 1988 they entered the private collection of Péter Bartók in Homosassa, Florida. During the first half of 1939 Bartók seriously investigated the possibility of emigrating to Turkey, before deciding that the USA was the most desirable personal refuge. However, on 13 April 1938 Bartók had written ‘I have my mother here: shall I abandon her altogether in her last years? – No, I cannot do that!’; and only on her death in December 1939 did he feel morally free to leave. Despite the precarious times – with the period of ‘phoney war’ drawing to a close – Bartók undertook a successful concert tour of the USA during April–May 1940. Noteworthy were a sonata recital with Szigeti at the Library of Congress in Washington and a Columbia recording session of Contrasts in New York with Szigeti and Goodman. His confidence in a move of indefinite duration was immeasurably strengthened when he came to know of a large collection of Serbo-Croat field recordings undertaken by a Harvard professor, Milman Parry, and his associate, Albert B. Lord, in 1933–5.

Back in Budapest by late May of 1940, Bartók started to plan for his permanent return to the USA with his wife in October 1940. Bureaucratic complications associated with indefinitely leaving Hungary before the pensionable age of 60, when he would also become exempt from military service, as well as visa, travel and currency difficulties, were compounded by persistent pains in Bartók’s right shoulder, which required daily hydrotherapy. These pains were later interpreted as the first signs of his eventually fatal blood disorders. A final orchestral concert for both husband and wife was held at the Budapest Academy of Music on 8 October 1940, before they travelled to New York, via Lisbon.

7. 1940–45.

Bartók, Béla 5. 1926–34. 7. 1940–45.: Ex.4 Nine Little Piano Pieces, Menuetto, 3–4, 9–10

Bartók lived in the USA for the remainder of his life. After the trials of the first few months, with the couple’s early two-piano concerts gaining less than enthusiastic receptions and insecurities over accommodation, finances, passports and their temporarily mislaid Hungarian luggage, Bartók settled into the familiar routine of regular ethnomusicological work and occasional concert tours. During his American years he declined several offers of composition-teaching positions, although he did privately teach a few students piano or composition. In November 1940 Columbia University awarded him an honorary doctorate, and during 1941–2 he held a research appointment there, working on Parry’s Serbo-Croatian collection, which was on loan from Harvard. That work eventually resulted in the volume Serbo-Croatian Folk Songs (New York, 1951), of which Bartók completed the musical parts and Lord the textual. Probably Bartók’s greatest discovery among this Serbo-Croat material lay with Dalmatian chromatic folk tunes. There he came upon a form of melodic chromaticism very similar to the ‘new chromaticism’ found in his own compositions since the Dance Suite. Moreover, he found that his compositional technique of melodic transformation through expansion or contraction of scalar intervals (exx.4 and 6) occurred naturally among the Dalmatians. Their chromatic melodies were none other than compressed diatonic melodies of surrounding areas. Another Dalmatian effect, which Bartók later compositionally imitated, involved the playing or singing of chromatic tunes in two parallel parts, separated by intervals such as major 2nds or minor 7ths. Mainly in his private time, Bartók also worked on the final forms of his volumes of Romanian instrumental and vocal melodies, which were essentially complete by December 1942, and of Romanian folk texts, which took until late 1944. He also revised and polished his Turkish volume, which was finished in late 1943. Without prospect of publication for either, Bartók deposited them in the music library at Columbia, to be available ‘to those few persons (very few indeed) who may be interested in them’. These Romanian volumes were published in 1967, the Turkish in 1976. A further ethnomusicological appointment, for work on Amerindian music, was periodically offered by the University of Washington, Seattle, but never taken up.

The ‘magnificent possibilities’ to which Bartók’s New York agent had made reference in 1940 soon turned out to be illusory. Twice during 1941 he ventured on tours across the continent, presenting numerous solo or two-piano recitals in universities or colleges. More prestigious engagements were few. His last solo concerto performances took place in Chicago on 20 and 21 November 1941, and his last public appearances were with his wife on 21 and 22 January 1943, when Reiner conducted the American première of his Concerto for two pianos, percussion and orchestra bb121, an arrangement of the Sonata for two pianos and percussion. After January 1943 Bartók did still seek performing engagements, and though in January 1945 he played for a New Jersey radio broadcast, for a variety of health and logistical reasons no further public performances followed. As a composer, too, his American output was initially meagre. The orchestral version of the Sonata was made in 1940 and the arrangement of his Second Suite, as the Suite for Two Pianos op.4b bb122, in 1941. But he did not engage in any original composition until the spring of 1942, when some ideas emerged perhaps for a suggested concerto for ‘combinations of solo instruments and string orchestra’. From April 1942, however, chronic illness intervened and Bartók put this work aside.

Although suffering more acutely, Bartók decided to go ahead with a visiting appointment at Harvard for the spring semester of 1943. There his duties were to present one recital and two lecture series on recent Hungarian music, principally his own and that of Kodály, and on folksong and ethnomusicological procedure. While Bartók only managed to present three of the first series’ lectures and to draft a fourth, these Harvard lectures provide Bartók’s most candid and detailed explanation of his compositional techniques. He was then hospitalized, with a tentative diagnosis of blood (polycythemia) and lung (tuberculosis) disorders. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), of which Bartók was not a member, decided to underwrite the costs of his medical treatment and recuperation. For the following three summers recovery took him to Saranac Lake in New York State, and for the 1943–4 winter to a sanatorium in Asheville, North Carolina. It was while on these rest cures away from New York that Bartók’s final compositions were written.

The Concerto for Orchestra bb123 was commissioned by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in May 1943. Probably drawing on some of his fleeting ideas from 1942, Bartók started in August 1943 to draft the work in five movements, less overtly symmetrical, however, than Bartók’s other recent five-movement compositions. The various folk-music and art-music components of its style are also less integrated than in his music of the 1930s. In a programme note Bartók depicted the work’s mood as gradually progressing from the ‘sternness of the first movement and the lugubrious death-song of the third, to the life-assertion of the last one’. The exception to this progression, as Bartók noted, was the jesting ‘game of pairs’ second movement, in which he imitated the two-part parallel Dalmatian style found in Parry’s collection. The fourth movement, ‘Intermezzo interrotto’, is uncharacteristically cheeky in mood, with its parody of a tune from Shostakovich’s then-popular Seventh Symphony, and nostalgic quotation of a popular song, Szep vagy, gyönyörű vagy Magyarország (‘You are lovely, you are beautiful, Hungary’) by Zsigmond Vincze. Another strong, nostalgic influence upon the first and third movements is Bartók’s own style from the 1908–11 period, in particular that of Bluebeard’s Castle. The life-asserting finale is, however, a boisterous roll-call of some of Bartók’s favourite folk styles. It attempts, if with limited success, to combine aspects of sonata form with the loose ‘chain’ forms which Bartók had invoked in the second and third movements. First performed in Boston on 1 December 1944, the Concerto for Orchestra proved immediately attractive to the American public, although Bartók was soon persuaded to write a second, less abrupt ending to the finale. Whether, or how much, Bartók’s new accessibility betrayed his longer-term creative directions became a frequent point of debate after his death.

During October 1943 Bartók heard excellent multiple performances of his Violin Concerto (‘no.2’) in the hands of Tossy Spivakovsky, and in November inspired performances of his First Violin Sonata from Menuhin. On Menuhin’s suggestion of a commission, Bartók had by 14 March 1944 written the four-movement Sonata for solo violin bb124, a work of overt homage to Bach, in particular Bach’s solo Sonata in C, which Bartók had heard Menuhin perform. Of his four major American works this astringent sonata could, however, least be accused of stylistic compromise. Its use of Baroque imitative techniques is sustained in the first movement, marked Tempo di ciaccona, and also in the second movement, an ambitious four-voiced fugue whose chromatic subject is characterized by competing major and minor 3rds. The Presto finale is significant in introducing long passages of quarter-tone writing, and some reference to third-tones. However, only Bartók’s semitonal alternatives were included in Menuhin’s posthumous edition of the work.

While writing the sonata Bartók’s health again declined. The first definite signs of leukaemia were detected in the spring of 1944, although through the use of blood transfusions and drugs, including penicillin, Bartók’s condition was able to be held reasonably stable until the late summer of 1945. During the summer of 1944 ethnomusicological demands largely took over from composition, but Bartók also regained his enthusiasm for performance, even to the extent of wanting to make new recordings of his own works. His financial circumstances, which had been particularly exacerbated since 1941 because of double taxation on his British-derived royalty income, were now somewhat more secure. The successful premières of his first two American works within a week in late 1944 further reinforced his confidence, and led to several offers of commissions during the first half of 1945.

Bartók’s final two substantial compositions were both concertos. While in Saranac during July–August 1945 he worked intensively on the Third Piano Concerto bb127, intended for his wife to perform, in tandem with the Viola Concerto bb128, commissioned by William Primrose. The idea of a new piano concerto grew from Bartók’s realization that his wife could not master some of the more challenging sections of his previous one. In the Third, consequently, he wanted something texturally lighter and is reported to have examined Grieg’s concerto as one possible model for this new lucidity. Bartók’s folk-, art- and nature-derived inspirations in the work are relatively undisguised. The second movement, for instance, begins with an extended imitation of Beethoven’s ‘Heiliger Dankgesang’ (from the String Quartet in A minor op.132), while its middle, ‘Night Music’ section makes explicit reference to the call of the rufous-sided towhee bird, which Bartók had noted down while in North Carolina.

Bartók died in New York on 26 September 1945, after a month-long relapse in health. During his final weeks he managed to complete the Third Piano Concerto, except for the scoring of the final 17 bars, which his colleague Tibor Serly quickly accomplished. His Viola Concerto, however, only remained in sketch, the solo part suggesting a work of comparable lucidity and harmonic restraint to the piano concerto, but with incomplete and less conclusive detail about instrumentation, texture and even the final form. In early August 1945 Bartók had written to Primrose about his concept of a four-movement work with joining ritornello passages, but the evidence of the manuscript suggests only three movements with interconnecting, non-ritornello passages. Since 1945 several attempts have been made to complete the concerto, either for viola or cello. Two of the viola versions have ‘authorized’ status: that undertaken by Tibor Serly with additional input by Primrose, which was published in 1950 shortly after the première, and a ‘revised version’ of 1995 prepared by Péter Bartók and Nelson Dellamaggiore.

8. Legacy.

Dying within weeks of the end of World War II, Bartók narrowly missed the wave of popularity which greeted his music in the first postwar decade. A Hungarian diaspora of conductors (Reiner, Doráti), violinists (Székely, Szigeti) and pianists (Kentner, Sándor) energetically spread his music around the world, as did recent commissioners of his works (Sacher, Koussevitzky, Menuhin and Primrose).

His later works, particularly the orchestral and chamber music, gained increasing access to mainstream concerts, sometimes to the chagrin of the postwar avant garde. Within Hungary itself, Bartók’s compositions were during the late 1940s and early 1950s subjected to investigation for their socialist-realist qualities, with approval being accorded to his folksong settings, lighter piano works, and such orchestral works as the Dance Suite, and disapproval to what one Hungarian critic called ‘formalist, modernist works written in an abstract language’, such as The Miraculous Mandarin, the first two piano concertos, the Fourth String Quartet and the Cantata profana. The excesses of this phase passed with the early 1950s, however, and by the mid-1950s Bartók’s works were in official favour with the communist authorities, just as his life was now interpreted as a socialist symbol of resistance both to European fascists and to American capitalists. In the 1950s, however, a complex dispute arose concerning the estates which Bartók had left, by different wills, in Hungary and America. Lasting into the 1980s, this dispute perpetuated a ‘cold war’ attitude of musical and scholarly non-cooperation between the two countries of his residence, and resulted in retarded dissemination of many important primary-source materials as well as distinctly different research traditions and repertory focusses.

Bartók’s influence upon other composers certainly lacked the intensity and dogmatic hold of Schoenberg, or the widespread impact of the neo-classical Stravinsky. Always averse to teaching composition, Bartók did not leave behind any loyal ‘school’. The composer most directly influenced by Bartók, and Bartók in turn by him, was undoubtedly Kodály. So closely did the two collaborate, especially in their earlier years, that the extent of their interdependence cannot be fully known. Leading composers of following generations on whose works Bartók exerted some measure of direct influence include Messiaen, Lutosławski, Britten, Ginastera, Copland and Crumb. Among Hungarians, György Kroó (in Ránki, B1987) has noted that Bartók provided a powerful model particularly for composers emerging between the late 1950s and mid-1970s, not so much in terms of specific techniques (although there had since 1945 been much superficial imitation of his distinctive string and percussion sounds, and of a narrow band of formal and folksong models) as in the human and professional ideals which he offered, as Hungarian music sought to throw off its postwar isolation and to re-establish a pan-European significance.

For a naturally reluctant teacher Bartók left a surprisingly powerful pedagogic legacy. That legacy lies, to a minor extent, in the students of his Academy and private piano lessons, who included the conductor Fritz Reiner, the pianists Lajos Heimlich (Hernádi), Ernő Balogh, Ditta Pásztory and Andor Földes, the ethnomusicologist Jenő Deutsch, and, briefly, the conductor Georg Solti. More significant, however, for broader musical education were Bartók’s publications: the many, early instructive editions of piano ‘classics’ and studies which he produced between 1907 and the mid-1920s, as well as the Bartók-Reschofsky Piano Method, but, above all, his compositions for young pianists (For Children, Mikrokosmos), violinists (Forty-four Duos) and singers (Twenty-seven Choruses and many simpler folksong arrangements). That Bartók produced the most significant of these works in the 1930s, at the height of his maturity, attests to the importance which he placed on educating a new generation in contemporary styles.

As a performer, Bartók’s personal legacy was not great. With his dour personality and diffident platform manners he did not manage to thrill the great public; within the Hungarian context he was overshadowed by his better-known contemporary Ernő Dohnányi. An outstanding corner of his pianistic legacy is, nonetheless, the collection of gramophone, piano-roll and live recordings, dating from his last quarter-century. These performances, with their wealth of tonal shadings, tempo fluctuations and occasional deviations from the published scores, remind present-day interpreters of the essentially Romantic underpinning to Bartók’s performing art.

The ethnomusicological legacy of Bartók has been varied. Within the international history of that discipline, his stature is more that of a precursor than of a seminal figure. His significance outside Hungary is now largely historic, as an early proponent of transcriptional exactitude rather than as a founder of enduring disciplinary principles. Had he lived to complete his envisaged comparative study of eastern European folk musics his international significance might well have been more profound. Within Hungary his ethnomusicological legacy is perpetuated in the Academy of Sciences’ long-term projects for a complete edition of Hungarian folk music and a complete collection of Bartók’s own systematization of Hungarian folksong, both of which remain substantially unpublished. The greatest legacy of Bartók’s folk-music studies, however, undoubtedly lies in his own compositions. It was exactly those ethnomusicological fascinations with musical detail and subtle observations of variant forms (which have led to periodic accusations from latter-day ethnomusicologists that he was not ‘seeing the wood for the trees’) which fed his greatest creative strengths. What contemporaries such as Schoenberg or Stravinsky could not well appreciate was that Bartók’s folk-music studies provided him with a limitless arsenal for creative transformation. His approach to art-music sources was similarly transformational, as his Romanian colleague Constantin Brăiloiu once observed: ‘Impressionism, polytonality, atonality, motorism: Bartók has passionately lived through all these revolutions and reshaped, as it were, for his own use, with his own rich resources, all systems’ (in Moreux, E1949).

9. Interpretation and analysis.

Bartók’s highly synthetic process of composition has elicited diverse interpretations of his works. These interpretations have often plotted his achievement as a composer against such generalized coordinates as East and West, Romanticism and Modernism, nationalism and internationalism. More conservative studies of his art have tended to emphasize the first coordinate of these pairs, while more progressive studies, the second. In aesthetic terms Bartók plotted himself as moving along a spectrum from Beethoven (artist and harmonist) towards Bach (craftsman and contrapuntalist), with a decisive point of change around 1926. Between the frequently claimed modernist poles of Schoenberg (Expressionist or emancipator of pitch) and Stravinsky (neoclassicist or emancipator of rhythm), Bartók has sometimes been interpreted as a figure of compromise, and therefore of a lesser creative significance. János Kárpáti (in Crow, B1976), however, views Bartók’s position among modernists as one of synthesizing greatness:

in Bartók’s art there is not a simple association between these two differing musical conceptions [Schoenberg and Stravinsky] but an organic synthesis of them. Far from wishing to reconcile the two extremes, Bartók merely used them in forming his own creative system … he found a point upon which the heritage of the past and the revolution of the present – in Adorno’s words, restoration and progress – were converging.

Few commentators agree on the precise balance of Bartók’s syntheses, for his approach to composition was highly eclectic. He progressed pragmatically through life, ever fascinated by new folk- or art-music experiences and contemptuous of theorizing about music. Most noticeably after his several fallow periods of compositional incubation – 1905–7, 1912–14, 1923–6, 1931–4, 1940–3 – Bartók launched into fresh creative phases with varying degrees of stylistic continuity. The most marked changes in compositional direction could be considered to have taken place in 1907–8 and 1926. Probably the most significant speculative deviation in his output occurred during 1918–22, when, under the influence of both Schoenberg and Stravinsky, Bartók seemed to be approaching an atonal goal. The 1934–40 period, with its many major works in chamber, orchestral, vocal and solo piano genres, shows a more regular transcendence of inspirational sources than does any other; accordingly, these pieces are often deemed his most mature. Bartók himself was indifferent to charges of eclecticism or ‘borrowing’. He considered the concept of artistic originality an outworn Romantic-era obsession, and openly acknowledged his liberal attitude to the use of materials by quoting Molière’s defence to a charge of plagiarism, ‘Je prends mon bien où je le trouve’.

Bartók’s transformational approach to such a wide body of sources has generated a huge variety of analyses of his music. Depending upon the sources, theories or dialectical poles from which analyses are initiated, starkly different results can be educed. It is perhaps a measure of greatness that Bartók’s music can accommodate so many different approaches yet ultimately defies them all. No one all-embracing theory for his music is, therefore, likely to emerge. Rather, reflecting Bartók’s own eclecticism and relatively untheorized attitude to composition, an appropriate range of differing analytical approaches usually produces the best overall understanding of individual works or, indeed, the entire output.

Many analysts of Bartók’s music have based their approaches upon the composer’s own primary-source materials, as revealed in such documents as essays, analyses, recordings and the very notations of his works. Those interested in the music’s pitch, rhythmic or variational components of folk origin have used Bartók’s ethnomusicological treatises, with their own detailed analyses, as a profitable starting point (see Kárpáti, G1956; Burlas, E1971; Lenoir, E1986; László, E1995). Analysts of form (such as Hunkemöller, G1982, G1983) have drawn productively on Bartók’s work analyses, particularly those of his later chamber pieces with their evidence of large-scale symmetrical thinking. Bartók’s descriptions of the phases of his modal and tonal practice, most valuably in his Harvard lectures of 1943, have strongly influenced pitch analyses of his later compositions (see Oramo, F1977, F1980; Kárpáti, G1967, enlarged 1994); his terms ‘polymodal chromaticism’ and ‘new chromaticism’ have thereby entered the broader analytical literature. As compositional sketches and drafts have become increasingly available, they have led to notationally-based forms of semiotic analysis (see Gillies, F1989, F1993). Even Bartók’s recordings have inspired close observation, not just of his performing style but also of his ‘live’ variational tendencies (see Somfai in Documenta bartókiana, 1977).

Nevertheless, the majority of analytical studies have sought their illumination through approaches less beholden to the composer’s own documentary legacy. Among traditional formal analysts, Halsey Stevens (D1953) established enduring conclusions, particularly about the string quartets. Detailed motivic or thematic analyses have proven most analytically fruitful with such later works as the Violin Concerto ‘no.2’ (see Michael, G1976; Somfai, G1977; Weiss-Aigner, G1993–4), while Schenkerian approaches have been applied to the Fourth String Quartet (Travis, G1970) and the Mikrokosmos pieces (Waldbauer, G1982, G1987). Antokoletz (F1984), through concentration on the interaction of intervallic cells, scalar constructions, interval cycles and axes of symmetries, has demonstrated how Bartók progressively transformed folk-music sources into the more abstract principles of his compositions. Forte’s pitch-class set theory has been usefully drawn upon in analyses of both tonal and atonal works (see Cohn, F1988, F1991; Wilson, F1992) while Forte (F1993) has also contributed to the relatively neglected field of analysis of Bartókian rhythm. ‘Functional’ analyses using aspects of sol-fa solmization have been carried out by several Hungarian scholars, notably Lendvai (F1983) and Bárdos (F1972). Lendvai’s contribution to the analysis of proportions, particularly golden sections, in Bartók’s music has generated one of the more long-lived debates in the field (see Lendvai, F1971, F1983; Bachmann, F1979; Howat, F1983).

Of increasing importance to Bartók studies during the 1980s and 1990s have been ‘genetic’ and contextual studies, which investigate the circumstances of the creation of Bartók’s works. These studies have included technical documentation of work stages of compositions and resultant analytical conclusions (see Beach, G1988; Vikárius, G1993–4, Móricz, G1995), as well as speculative investigations of specific art-music influences upon Bartók compositions (see Suchoff, ‘The Impact of Italian Baroque Music on Bartók’s Music’, in Ránki, B1987; Gillies, E1992; Schneider, G1997; Vikárius, E1999), or of cultural or natural phenomena believed to have influenced Bartók in composing particular works (Harley, G1994; Leafstedt, G1999).

The history of Bartók analysis has been one of slow changes in trend: from early, postwar concerns with style analysis, mainly in the pitch domain, through to the more structural concerns of the 1950s to 70s. Lendvai, whatever the virtues of his proportional interpretations, was most important during these decades in placing a solid emphasis on non-traditional, large-scale aspects of construction. During the 1980s and 90s, despite an apparently ever-growing divergence of methods, the tendency has again been to concentrate on more ‘micro’ levels of composition. Over the second half of the 20th century eastern European commentators have been somewhat more concerned with looking to Bartók himself for analytical inspiration, while scholars from elsewhere have been more prominent in other categories of analysis. By the 1990s, with the increasing internationalization of scholarship, these distinctions were becoming tenuous.

Despite the richness and variety of approaches to Bartók’s music, only parts of his output have been thoroughly investigated. As with performances and recordings (see Lampert, E1995), Bartók’s instrumental music is much more exposed than his vocal. This is more for reasons of language and of score accessibility than for reasons of quality. The range of his vocal music is substantially known only in Hungary; its wider propagation remains a challenge for the 21st century.



L. Somfai: ‘List of Works and Primary Sources’, Béla Bartók: Composition, Concepts, and Autograph Sources (Berkeley, 1996), 297–320 [BB]

D. Dille: Thematisches Verzeichnis der Jugendwerke Béla Bartóks, 1890–1904 (Budapest, 1974) [DD]


Boosey & Hawkes [B], Dover [Do], Magyar Kórus [M], Rozsnyai Károly [R], Rószavölgyi [Rv], Universal [U], Zeneműkiadó (Editio Musica) [Z]

Editions [facsimile]

Hungarian Folksongs, with Z. Kodály, ed. D. Dille (Budapest, 1970) [BB42]

Két román tánc/Two Romanian Dances, ed. L. Somfai (Budapest, 1974) [BB56]

Andante, ed. L. Somfai (Budapest, 1980) [BB26b]

Zongoraszonáta/Sonata, ed. L. Somfai (Budapest, 1980) [BB88]

Béla Bartók fekete zsebkönyve: vázlatok, 1907–1922/Béla Bartók’s Black Pocket-Book: Sketches, 1907–1922, ed. L. Somfai (Budapest, 1987)

Viola Concerto: Facsimile Edition of the Autograph Draft, ed. L. Somfai and N. Dellamaggiore (Homosassa, FL, 1995) [BB128]





Genre (acts, librettist)


First performance

Original publication; remarks



A Kékszakállú herceg vára [Bluebeard’s Castle]

opera (1, B. Balázs)

1911, rev. 1912, 1917–18

cond. E. Tango, Budapest, Opera, 24 May 1918

vs U 1922

fs U 1922



A fából faragott királyfi [The Wooden Prince]

ballet (1, Balázs)

1914–16, orchd 1916–17

cond. E. Tango, Budapest, Opera, 12 May 1917

Pf score U 1921

fs U 1924

shorter orch suite, c1925

longer orch suite, 1932

see also orchestral



A csodálatos mandarin [The Miraculous Mandarin]

pantomime (1, M. Lengyel)

1918–19, orchd 1924, rev. 1926–31

cond. E. Szenkár, Cologne, Stadt, 27 Nov 1926

fs U 1924, rev. 1936

pf 4 hands score U 1925

scenes, orch, 1924

rev. as suite, 1927

see also orchestral




Title, scoring


First performance

Original publication





dd60b; arr. of pf work, dd60a/1–2


Scherzo, B♭




Symphony, E♭

1902, orchd 1903

Scherzo, cond. I. Kerner, Budapest, 29 Feb 1904

dd68; Scherzo, C, orchd; other movts in sketch


Kossuth, sym. poem


cond. Kerner, Budapest, 13 Jan 1904

Z 1963

dd75a; tableau 10 arr. pf, dd75b



Scherzo, pf, orch [orig. titled Burlesque]


E. Tusa, cond. G. Lehel, Budapest, 28 Sept 1961

Z 1961

arr. 2 pf, unpubd



Rhapsody, pf, orch


Bartók, cond. C. Chevillard, Paris, early Aug 1905

Rv 1910

arr. of pf work, bb36a



Suite no.1, full orch

1905, rev. c1920

movts 1, 3–5, Vienna, 29 Nov 1905

complete, cond. J. Hubay, Budapest, 1 Mar 1909

Rv 1912, rev. Z 1956



Suite no.2, small orch [orig. titled Serenade]

movts 1–3, 1905, movt 4, 1907

rev. 1920, 1943

movt 2, cond. Bartók, Berlin, 2 Jan 1909

complete, cond. Kerner, Budapest, 22 Nov 1909

Bartók 1907, rev. U 1921, rev. B 1948

freely arr. 2 pf, bb122


Violin Concerto (no.1) [orig. op.5]


H.-H. Schneeberger, cond. P. Sacher, Basle, 30 May 1958

B 1959

1st movt rev. as no.1 of bb48b; 2nd movt, arr. vn, pf, 1907–8, unpubd



Két portré [Two Portraits]: 1 Egy ideális [One Ideal], 2 Egy torz [One Grotesque]

no.1, 1907

no.2, 1908, orchd 1910

no.1, I. Waldbauer, cond. L. Kun, 12 Feb 1911

complete, E. Baré, cond. I. Strasser, Budapest, 20 April 1916

R 1911

no.1 from 1st movt of Vn Conc., bb48a; no.2, arr. of pf work, bb50/14



Két kép [Two Pictures]: 1 Virágzás [In Full Flower], 2 A falu tánca [Village Dance]


cond. Kerner, Budapest, 26 Feb 1913

Rv 1912

arr. pf, 1910–11 (Rv 1912)


Román tánc [Romanian Dance]

1909–10, orchd 1911

cond. Kun, Budapest, 12 Feb 1911

Z 1965

arr. of pf work, bb56/1



Four Orchestral Pieces: 1 Preludio, 2 Scherzo, 3 Intermezzo, 4 Marcia funebre

1912, orchd 1921

cond. E. Dohnányi, Budapest, 9 Jan 1922

U 1923



A fából faragott királyfi [The Wooden Prince], shorter orch suite


cond. Dohnányi, Budapest, 23 Nov 1931

U 1967

3 dances from ballet



A fából faragott királyfi, longer orch suite


rev. and expanded version of above


Román népi táncok [Romanian Folk Dances], small orch


cond. E. Lichtenberg, Budapest, 11 Feb 1918

U 1922, rev. edn U 1991

arr. of pf work, bb68



A csodálatos mandarin [The Miraculous Mandarin], scenes


cond. F. Reiner, Cincinnati, 1 April 1927

U 1927

From pantomime; rev. as orch suite, 1927



A csodálatos mandarin, suite


cond. Dohnányi, Budapest, 15 Oct 1928

U 1929


Táncszvit [Dance Suite]


cond. Dohnányi, Budapest, 19 Nov 1923

U 1924

1 no. omitted in draft; arr. pf, bb86b (U 1925)


Piano Concerto no.1


Bartók, cond. Furtwängler, Frankfurt, 1 July 1927

U 1927

arr. 2 pf (U 1927, rev. edn U 1992)


Rhapsody no.1, vn, orch


J. Szigeti, cond. H. Scherchen, Königsberg, 1 Nov 1929

U 1929

arr. of vn, pf work, bb94a


Rhapsody no.2, vn, orch

1928, rev. 1935

Z. Székely, cond. Dohnányi, Budapest, 25 Nov. 1929

U 1929, rev. B 1949

arr. of vn, pf work, bb96a


Piano Concerto no.2


Bartók, cond. H. Rosbaud, Frankfurt, 23 Jan 1933

U 1932, rev. edn U 1994

arr. 2 pf (U 1941, rev. edn U 1993)


Erdélyi táncok [Transylvanian Dances]


cond. M. Freccia, Budapest, 25 Jan 1932

Rv 1932

arr. of vn, pf work, bb102a


Magyar képek [Hungarian Sketches]


nos.1–3, 5, cond. M. Freccia, Budapest, 25 Jan 1932

complete, cond. H. Laber, Budapest, 26 Nov 1934

R, Rv 1932

arr. of pf works, bb51/5, 10, bb58/2, bb55/2, bb53 ii/42


Magyar parasztdalok [Hungarian Peasant Songs]


cond. E. Flipse, Rotterdam, 8 Nov 1933

U 1933

arr. of pf works, bb79/6–12, 14, 15


Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta


cond. P. Sacher, Basle, 21 Jan 1937

U 1936–7


Violin Concerto (‘no.2’)


Székely, cond. Mengelberg, Amsterdam, 23 March 1939

B 1946

arr. vn, pf (B 1941)


Divertimento, str


cond. Sacher, Basle, 11 June 1940

B 1940


Concerto, 2 pf, perc, orch


L. Kentner, I. Kabos, cond. A. Boult, London, 14 Nov 1942

B 1970

arr. of Sonata, 2 pf, perc, bb115


Concerto for Orchestra

1943, rev. 1945

cond. S. Koussevitzky, Boston, 1 Dec 1944

B 1946, rev. edn B 1993

arr. pf, 1944, unpubd


Piano Concerto no.3


G. Sándor, cond. E. Ormandy, Philadelphia, 8 Feb 1946

B 1947, ed. T. Serly and others, rev. edn B 1994

last 17 bars scored by Serly


Viola Concerto

1945, inc.

W. Primrose, cond. A. Doráti, Minneapolis, 2 Dec 1949

B 1950, ed. T. Serly, rev. edn B 1995

completed from inc. draft by Serly; vc version (B 1956)







First performance

Original publication, remarks


Tiefblaue Veilchen

C. Schoenaich-Carolath

S, orch




Falun (Tri dedinské scény) [Three Village Scenes]

Slovak trad.

4/8 female vv, chbr orch


cond. S. Koussevitzky, New York, 27 Nov 1926

fs, U 1927

vs, U 1927, rev. edn U 1996

arr. of songs, bb87a/3–5


Cantata profana ‘A kilenc csodaszarvas’ [The Nine Enchanted Stags]

Rom. colindă, arr. and Hung. trans. Bartók

T, Bar, double chorus, orch


cond. A. Buesst, London, 25 May 1934

fs and vs, U 1934


Magyar népdalok [(Five) Hungarian Folksongs]

Hung. trad.

1v, orch


cond. Dohnányi, Budapest, 23 Oct 1933

arr. of songs, bb98/1, 2, 11, 14, 12

Other choral works



Est [Evening], dd74 (K. Harsányi), 8 male vv, 1903 (Z 1965)


Two Romanian Folksongs, female vv, c1909, completed from draft by B. Suchoff, unpubd: Nu te supăra mireasă [On her wedding day]; Măi badiţă prostule [Fickle lover, silly man]


Négy régi magyar népdal [Four Old Hungarian Folksongs], 4 male vv, 1910, rev. 1912, c1926 (U 1928): Rég megmondtam bús gerlice [Long ago I told you]; Jaj Istenem, kire várok [O God, why am I waiting?]; Ángyomasszony kertje [In my sister-in-law’s garden]; Béreslegény, jól megrakd a szekeret [Farmboy, load the cart well]


Tót népdalok (Slovácké ľudové piesne) [Slovak Folksongs], 4 male vv, 1917 (U 1918): Ej, posluchajte málo [Ah, listen now my comrades]; Ked’ja smutny pojdem [Back to fight]; Kamarádi mojí [War is in our land]; Ej, a ked’mna zabiju [Ah, if I fall in battle]; Ked’som šiou na vojnu [Time went on]


Négy tót népdal (Štyri slovenské piesne) [Four Slovak Folksongs], 4vv, pf, c1916 (U 1924): Zadala mamka [Wedding song]; Na holi, na holi [Song of the Hay-Harvesters]; Rada pila, rada jedla [Song from Medzibrod]; Gajdujte, gajdence [Dancing Song]


Magyar népdalok [Hungarian Folksongs], mixed vv, 1930 (U 1932): A rab [The Prisoner]; A bujdosó [The Wanderer]; Az eladó lány [Finding a husband]; Dal [Lovesong]


Székely népdalok [Székely Folksongs], 6 male vv, 1932 (M 1938): 1 Hej, de sokszor megbántottál [How often I’ve grieved for you]; 2 Istenem, életem [My God, my life]; 3 Vékony cérna, kemény mag [Slender thread, hard seed]; 4 Kilyénfalvi közeptizbe [In the middle of Kilyénfalva]; 5 Vékony cérna, kemény mag; 6 Járjad pap a táncot [Do a dance, priest]


Twenty-seven Two- and Three-Part Choruses (Hung. trad.), children’s vv (vols.i–vi), female vv (vols.vii–viii), 1935–6 (M 1937, Z 1953) vol.i: Tavasz [Spring]; Ne hagyj itt! [Don’t leave here!]; Jószág-igéző [Enchanting Song] vol.ii: Levél az otthoniakhoz [Letter to Those at Home]; Játék [Play Song]; Leánynéző [Courting]; Héjja, héjja, karahéjja! [Hey, you hawk!] vol.iii: Ne menj el! [Don’t leave me!]; Van egy gyűrűm [I have a ring]; Senkim a világon [I’ve no-one in the world]; Cipósütés [Bread-baking] vol.iv: Huszárnóta [Hussar]; Resteknek nótája [Loafers’ Song]; Bolyongás [Wandering]; Lánycsúfoló [Girls’ Teasing Song] vol.v: Legénycsúfoló [Boys’ Teasing Song]; Mihálynapi köszöntő [Michaelmas Greeting]; Leánykérő [Suitor] Keserves [Grief]; Madárdal [Bird Song]; Csujogató [Jeering] vol.vii: Bánat [Regret]; Ne láttalak volna! [Had I not seen you!]; Elment a madárka [The bird flew away] vol.viii: Párnás táncdal [Pillow Dance]; Kánon: Isten veled! [God be with you!] nos.iv/1, iii/1, iv/2, iv/3, iii/4 arr. with school orch (M 1937); nos.i/2, v/1 arr. with small orch (B 1942)


Elmúlt időkből [From Olden Times] (Hung. trad.), 3 male vv, 1935 (M 1937): Nincs boldogtalanabb parasztembernél [No-one’s more unhappy than the peasant]; Egy, kettő, három, négy [One, two, three, four]; Nincsen szerencsésebb parasztembernél [No-one is happier than the peasant]



A Duna folyása [The Course of the Danube], dd20b, vn, pf, 1894, pf part lost [arr. of pf work, bb1/20a]


Sonata, c, dd37, vn, pf, 1895


Violin pieces, dd39, 1895, lost

2 fantasias, dd40–41, 1896, lost


String Quartet no.1, B♭, dd42, 1896, lost


String Quartet no.2, c, dd43, 1896, lost


Piano Quintet, C, dd46, 1897, lost


Sonata, A, dd49, vn, pf, 1897 [pf part of 2nd movt only sketched]


Piano Quartet, c, dd52, 1898


String Quartet, F, dd56, 1898


Scherzo in Sonatenform, f, dd58, str qt, 1899–1900


Duo (Canon), G, dd69, 2 vn, 1902 (in Dille: Thematisches Verzeichnis)


Andante (Albumblatt), A, dd70, vn, pf, 1902 (Z 1980)


Sonata, e, dd72, vn, pf, 1903 (Documenta bartókiana, i–ii, 1964–5; Z 1968)


Piano Quintet, dd77, 1903–4, rev. to 1920 (Z 1970)


Gyergyóból [From Gyergyó], rec, pf, 1907 (Z 1961); arr. pf, bb45b


String Quartet no.1, op.7, 1908–9 (Rv 1909)


String Quartet no.2, op.17, 1914–17 (U 1920, rev. edn U 1994)


Sonata no.1 [MS: op.21], vn, pf, 1921 (U 1923, rev. edn U 1991)


Sonata no.2, vn, pf, 1922 (U 1923, rev. edn U 1997)


String Quartet no.3, 1927 (U 1929, rev. edn U 1992)


Rhapsody no.1., vn, pf, 1928, rev. 1929 (U 1929); orchd, bb94b; arr. vc, pf, bb94c


Rhapsody, vc, pf, 1928–9 (U 1930)


String Quartet no.4, 1928 (U 1929, rev. edn U 1995)


Rhapsody no.2, vn, pf, 1928 (U 1929), rev. 1945 (B 1947); orchd, bb96b


Forty-four Duos, 2 vn, 1931 (32 nos. Schott 1932, complete U 1933, iii–iv rev. edn U 1992) vol.i: 1 Párositó [Teasing Song]; 2 Kalamajkó [Dance]; 3 Menuetto; 4 Szentivánéji [Midsummer Night Song]; 5 Tót nóta I [Slovak Song I]; 6 Magyar nóta I [Hungarian song I]; 7 Oláh nóta [Romanian Song]; 8 Tót nóta II [Slovak Song II]; 9 Játék [Play]; 10 Rutén nóta [Ruthenian Song]; 11 Gyermekrengetéskor [Lullaby]; 12 Szénagyűjtéskor [Hay-Harvesting Song]; 13 Lakodalmas [Wedding Song]; 14 Párnás-tánc [Cushion Dance] vol.ii: 15 Katonanóta [Soldier’s Song]; 16 Burleszk [Burlesque]; 17 Menetelő nóta I [Marching Song]; 18 Menetelő nóta II; 19 Mese [Fairy Tale]; 20 Dal [Song]; 21 Újévköszöntő I [New Year’s Greeting I]; 22 Szúnyogtánc [Mosquito Dance]; 23 Menyasszony-búcsúztató [Wedding Song]; 24 Tréfás nóta [Gay Song]; 25 Magyar nóta II vol.iii: 26 ‘Ugyan édes komámasszony …’ [Teasing Song]; 27 Sánta-tánc [Limping Dance]; 28 Bánkódás [Sorrow]; 29 Újévköszöntő II; 30 Újévköszöntő III; 31 Újévköszöntő IV; 32 Máramarosi tánc [Dance from Máramaros]; 33 Aratáskor [Harvest Song]; 34 Számláló nóta [Counting Song]; 35 Rutén kolomejka [Ruthenian kolomejka]; 36 Szól a duda [Bagpipes], with variant form vol.iv: 37 Preludium és kánon; 38 Forgatós [Romanian Whirling Dance]; 39 Szerb tánc [Serbian Dance]; 40 Oláh tánc [Romanian Dance]; 41 Scherzo; 42 Arab dal [Arabian Song]; 43 Pizzicato; 44 ‘Erdélyi’ tánc [‘Transylvanian’ Dance] nos.28, 38, 43, 16, 36, 32 arr. pf, bb113


String Quartet no.5, 1934 (U 1936, rev. edn U 1992)


Sonata, 2 pf, 2 perc, 1937 (B 1942), arr. 2 pf, perc, orch, bb121


Contrasts, vn, cl, pf, 1938 (B 1942)


String Quartet no.6, 1939 (B 1941)


Sonata, vn, 1944 (ed. Y. Menuhin B 1947, rev. edn with quarter-tone variants B 1994)



Walczer, dd1, 1890

Változó darab [Changeable Piece], dd2, 1890

Mazurka, dd3, 1890

A budapesti tornaverseny [Gymnastic Contest in Budapest], dd4, 1890

Sonatina no.1, dd5, 1890

Oláh darab [Wallachian Piece], dd6, 1890

Gyorspolka [Fast Polka], dd7, 1891

‘Béla’ polka, dd8, 1891

‘Katinka’ polka, dd9, 1891

Tavaszi hangok [Sounds of Spring], dd10, 1891

‘Jolán’ polka, dd11, 1891

‘Gabi’ polka, dd12, 1891

Nefelejts [Forget-me-not], dd13, 1891

Ländler no.1, dd14, 1891

‘Irma’ polka, dd15, 1891

Radegundi visszhang [Echo of Radegund], dd16, 1891

Induló [March], dd17, 1891

Ländler no.2, dd18, 1891

Cirkusz polka, dd19, 1891

A Duna folyása [The Course of the Danube], dd20a, 1890–94, arr. vn, pf, bb1/20b; Sonatina no.2, dd21, 1891

Ländler no.3, dd22, 1892, lost; Tavaszi dal [Song of Spring], dd23, 1892

Szőllősi darab [Piece of (Nagy) szőllős], dd24, 1892, lost; ‘Margit’ polka, dd25, 1893

‘Ilona’ mazurka, dd26, 1893

‘Loli’ mazurka, dd27, 1893

‘Lajos’ valczer, dd28, 1893

‘Elza’ polka, dd29, 1894

Andante con variazioni, dd30, 1894

Allegro, dd31, 1894, lost; all nos. unpubd


Sonata no.1, g, dd32, 1894, unpubd


Scherzo, g, dd33, 1894, unpubd


Fantasie, a, dd34, 1895, unpubd


Sonata no.2, F, dd35, 1895, unpubd


Capriccio, b, dd36, 1895, unpubd


Sonata no.3, C, dd38, 1895, lost


Andante, Scherzo and Finale, dd44, 1897, lost


Drei Klavierstücke, b, C, a♭, dd45, 1897 (no.1 Z 1965)


Two Pieces, dd47, 1897, lost


Grosse Fantasie, dd48, 1897, lost


Scherzo (Fantasie), B, dd50, 1897 (Z 1965)


Sonata, dd51, 1898, lost


Drei Klavierstücke, c, g, E, dd53 (nos. 1–2 Z 1965)


Scherzo, b, dd55, 1898, unpubd


Scherzo, b♭, dd59, c1900, unpubd


Six Dances, dd60a, c1900, facs. of no.1 pubd as Danse orientale (Pressburger Zeitung, 1913); nos. 1–2 orchd, dd60b


Scherzo, b♭, dd63, 1900, unpubd


Változatok [Twelve Variations], dd64, 1900–01 (Z 1965)


Tempo di Minuetto, dd66, 1901, unpubd


Four Pieces, dd71, 1903 (Bárd, 1904

nos.1–3 B 1950

Z 1956, 1965): Study for the Left Hand; Fantasy I; Fantasy II; Scherzo


Marche funèbre, dd75b, 1903 (Budapest, 1905, R 1910) [arr. of Kossuth, tableau 10]


Rhapsody, op.1, 1904 (Adagio mesto Rv 1908; complete Rv 1923), arr. pf, orch, bb36b, arr. 2 pf, 1905 (Rv 1910)


Petits morceaux, 1905 (Z 1965) [free arr. of songs bb37/2, bb24/1]


Három Csík megyei népdal [Three Hungarian Folksongs from Csík], 1907 (R 1910) [arr. of rec, pf work, bb45a]: Rubato, L’istesso tempo, Poco vivo


Két elégia [Two Elegies], op.8b, 1908–9 (R 1910): Grave, Molto adagio sempre rubato (quasi improvisando)


Fourteen Bagatelles, op.6, 1908 (R 1909): 1 Molto sostenuto; 2 Allegro giocoso; 3 Andante; 4 Grave [arr. of folksong Mikor gulyásbojtár voltam]; 5 Vivo [arr. of folksong Ej! po pred naš, po pred naš]; 6 Lento; 7 Allegretto molto capriccioso; 8 Andante sostenuto; 9 Allegretto grazioso; 10 Allegro; 11 Allegretto molto rubato; 12 Rubato; 13 Elle est morte (Lento funèbre); 14 Valse: ma mie qui danse (Presto); no.14 orchd as no.2 of bb48b


Tíz könnyű zongoradarab [Ten Easy Pieces], 1908 (R 1908), with Ajánlás [Dedication]: 1 Paraszti nóta [Peasant Song]; 2 Lassú vergődés [Frustration]; 3 Tót legények tánca [Slovak Boys’ Dance]; 4 Sostenuto; 5 Este a székelyeknél [Evening in Transylvania (Evening with the Széklers)]; 6 Gödöllei piactéren leesett a hó [Hungarian Folksong]; 7 Hajnal [Dawn]; 8 Azt mondják, nem adnak [Slovakian Folksong]; 9 Ujjgyakorlat [Five-Finger Exercise]; 10 Medvetánc [Bear Dance]; nos.5, 10 orchd, bb103/1–2


Gyermekeknek/Pro dêti [For Children], 85 pieces, i–iv, 1908–10 (R 1910, R 1912) [i–ii after Hung., iii–iv after Slovak folksongs], rev. 1943, 79 pieces, i–ii (B 1947); orig. ii/42 orchd, bb103/5; orig. i/16 arr. 1v, pf, 1937


Vázlatok [Seven Sketches], op.9b, 1908–10 (R 1911): 1 Leányi arckép [Portrait of a Girl]; 2 Hinta palinta [See-Saw, Dickory-Daw]; 3 Lento; 4 Non troppo lento; 5 Román népdal [Romanian Folksong]; 6 Oláhos [In Wallachian Style]; 7 Poco lento


Három burleszk [Three Burlesques], op.8c, 1908–11 (Rv 1912): Perpatvar [Quarrel], Kicsit ázottan [A Bit Drunk], Molto vivo capriccioso; no.2 orchd, bb103/4


Ket román tánc [Two Romanian Dances], op.8a, 1909–10 (Rv 1910; with rev. no.2, Do 1981): Allegro vivace, Poco allegro; no.1 orchd, bb61


Négy siratóének [Four Dirges], op.9a, 1909–10 (Rv 1912): Adagio; Andante; Poco lento; Assai andante; no.2 orchd, bb103/3


Allegro barbaro, 1911 (U 1918, rev. edn U 1992)


Kezdők zongoramuzsikája [First Term at the Piano], 18 pieces, 1913 (Rv 1929) [from c50 pieces in Zongoraiskola [Piano Method] of Bartók and S. Reschofsky (Rv 1913)]


Román kolinda-dallamok [Romanian Christmas Songs], 20 pieces in 2 sers., 1915 (U 1918, rev. edn U 1995)


Román népi táncok [Romanian Folk Dances], 1915 (U 1918, rev. edn U 1993): 1 Joc cu bâtă [Stick Dance]; 2 Brâul; 3 Pe loc [In One Spot]; 4 Buciumeana [Dance of Buchum]; 5 Poargă românească [Romanian Polka]; 6 Mărunţel [Fast Dance]; orchd, bb76


Sonatina, 1915 (Rv 1919), rev. after 1930 (B 1950); authorized arr. vn, pf, by Z. Székely, bb102a; orchd Bartók, bb102b


Suite, op.14, 1916 (U 1918, rev. edn U 1992; omitted movt in Új zenei szemle, v, 1955)


Tizenöt magyar parasztdal [Fifteen Hungarian Peasant Songs], 1914, 1918 (U 1920): 1–4 Négy régi keserves ének [Four Old Tunes]; 5 Scherzo; 6 Ballade (Tema con variazioni); 7–15 Régi táncdalok [Old Dance Tunes]; nos.6–12, 14–15 orchd, bb107


Three Hungarian Folk Tunes, 1914, 1918 (no.1 in early version, bb80a, in Periszkóp (1925), June–July; complete B 1942): Leszállott a páva [The Peacock]; Jánoshidi vásártéren [At the Jánoshida Fairground]; Fehér liliomszál [White Lily]


Etűdök [(Three) Studies], op.18, 1918 (U 1920)


Improvizációk magyar parasztdalokra [(Eight) Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs], op.20, 1920 (nos.2, 8 in Grotesken Album, ed. C. Seelig, U 1921; complete U 1922)


Táncszvit [Dance Suite], 1925 (U 1925, rev. edn U 1991) [arr. of orch suite bb86a]


Sonata, 1926 (U 1927, rev. edn U 1992)


Szabadban [Out of Doors], i–ii, 1926 (U 1927 rev. edns U 1990, 1996): i/1 Síppal, dobbal [With Drums and Pipes]; i/2 Barcarolla; i/3 Musettes; ii/4 Az éjszaka zenéje [The Night’s Music]; ii/5 Hajsza [The Chase]


Kilenc kis zongoradarab [Nine Little Piano Pieces], i–iii, 1926 (U 1927, rev. edn U 1995): i/1–4 Négy párbeszéd [Four Dialogues]; ii/5 Menuetto; ii/6 Dal [Air]; ii/7 Marcia delle bestie; ii/8 Csörgő-tánc [Tambourine]; iii/9 Preludio – All’ungherese


Három rondó népi dallamokkal [Three Rondos on (Slovak) Folktunes]: no.1 1916, nos.2–3 1927 (U 1930, rev. edn U 1995)


Mikrokosmos, i–vi, 1926, 1932–9 (B 1940, rev. edn B 1987) vol.i: 1–6 Six Unison Melodies; 7 Dotted Notes; 8 Repetition I; 9 Syncopation I; 10 With Alternate Hands; 11 Parallel Motion; 12 Reflection; 13 Change of Position; 14 Question and Answer; 15 Village Song; 16 Parallel Motion and Change of Position; 17 Contrary Motion I; 18–21 Four Unison Melodies; 22 Imitation and Counterpoint; 23 Imitation and Inversion I; 24 Pastorale; 25 Imitation and Inversion II; 26 Repetition II; 27 Syncopation II; 28 Canon at the Octave; 29 Imitation Reflected; 30 Canon at the Lower Fifth; 31 Dance in Canon Form; 32 In Dorian Mode; 33 Slow Dance; 34 In Phrygian Mode; 35 Chorale; 36 Free Canon; Appendix: Exercises 1–4 vol.ii: 37 In Lydian Mode; 38 Staccato and Legato I; 39 Staccato and Legato (Canon); 40 In Yugoslav Style; 41 Melody with Accompaniment; 42 Accompaniment in Broken Triads; 43 In Hungarian Style, 2 pf; 44 Contrary Motion II, 2 pf; 45 Méditation; 46 Increasing–Diminishing; 47 Country Fair; 48 In Mixolydian Mode; 49 Crescendo–Diminuendo; 50 Minuetto; 51 Waves; 52 Unison Divided; 53 In Transylvanian Style; 54 Chromatics; 55 Triplets in Lydian Mode, 2 pf; 56 Melody in Tenths; 57 Accents; 58 In Oriental Style; 59 Major and Minor; 60 Canon with Sustained Notes; 61 Pentatonic Melody; 62 Minor Sixths in Parallel Motion; 63 Buzzing; 64 Line against Point; 65 Dialogue, 1v, pf; 66 Melody Divided; Appendix: Exercises 5–18 vol.iii: 67 Thirds against a Single Voice; 68 Hungarian Dance, 2 pf; 69 Study in Chords; 70 Melody against Double Notes; 71 Thirds; 72 Dragons’ Dance; 73 Sixths and Triads; 74 Hungarian Matchmaking Song, also version for 1v, pf; 75 Triplets; 76 In Three Parts; 77 Little Study; 78 Five-Tone Scale; 79 Hommage à J.S.B.; 80 Hommage à R. Sch.; 81 Wandering; 82 Scherzo; 83 Melody with Interruptions; 84 Merriment; 85 Broken Chords; 86 Two Major Pentachords; 87 Variations; 88 Duet for Pipes; 89 In Four Parts I; 90 In Russian Style; 91 Chromatic Invention I; 92 Chromatic Invention II; 93 In Four Parts II; 94 Once Upon a Time …; 95 Fox Song, also version for 1v, pf; 96 Jolts; Appendix: Exercises 19–30 vol.iv: 97 Notturno; 98 Thumbs Under; 99 Hands Crossing; 100 In Folksong Style; 101 Diminished Fifth; 102 Harmonics; 103 Minor and Major; 104 Wandering Through the Keys; 105 Game; 106 Children’s Song; 107 Melody in the Mist; 108 Wrestling; 109 From the Island of Bali; 110 And the Sounds Clash and Clang …; 111 Intermezzo; 112 Variations on a Folktune; 113 Bulgarian Rhythm I; 114 Theme and Inversion; 115 Bulgarian Rhythm II; 116 Song; 117 Bourrée; 118 Triplets in 9/8 Time; 119 Dance in 3/4 Time; 120 Triads; 121 Two-part Study; Appendix: Exercises 31–3 vol.v: 122 Chords Together and in Opposition; 123 Staccato and Legato II; 124 Staccato; 125 Boating; 126 Change of Time; 127 New Hungarian Folksong, 1v, pf; 128 Stamping Dance; 129 Alternating Thirds; 130 Village Joke; 131 Fourths; 132 Major Seconds Broken and Together; 133 Syncopation III; 134 Three Studies in Double Notes; 135 Perpetuum mobile; 136 Whole-tone Scale; 137 Unison; 138 Bagpipe Music; 139 Jack-in-the-Box 140 Free Variations; 141 Subject and Reflection; 142 From the Diary of a Fly; 143 Divided Arpeggios; 144 Minor Seconds, Major Sevenths; 145 Chromatic Invention III; 146 Ostinato; 147 March; 148–53 Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm


Petite suite [arr. of vn duos, bb104/28, 38, 43, 16, 36], 1936 (U 1938, rev. edn 1995); omitted movt [arr. of bb104/32], unpubd


Seven Pieces from Mikrokosmos, 2 pf, 1939–40 (B 1947) [arr. of pf pieces bb105/113, 69, 135, 123, 127, 145, 146]


Suite, op.4b, 2 pf, 1941 (B 1958) [free arr. of orch work, bb40]



Drei Lieder, dd54, 1898: Im wunderschönen Monat Mai (H. Heine); Nacht am Rheine (K. Siebel); Die Gletscher leuchten im Mondenlicht


Liebeslieder, dd62, 1900 (nos.2, 4 Z 1963): 1 Du meine Liebe, du mein Herz (F. Rückert); 2 Diese Rose pflück ich hier (N. Lenau); 3 Du geleitest mich zum Grabe; 4 Ich fühle deinen Odem (Lenau); 5 Wie herrlich leuchtet (J.W. von Goethe); Herr! der du alles wohl gemacht


Four songs (L. Pósa), dd67, 1902 (Bárd 1904): 1 Őszi szellő [Autumn Breeze]; 2 Még azt vetik a szememre [They are accusing me]; 3 Nincs olyan bú [There is no greater sorrow]; 4 Ejnye! ejnye! [Alas! alas!]; no.1 arr. pf, bb38/2


Est [Evening] (K. Harsányi), dd73, 1903 (Z 1963)


Four Songs, dd76, 1903, lost


Székely Folksong: Piros alma leesett a sárba [The red apple has fallen in the mud], dd C8, 1904 (Budapest, 1905)


Magyar népdalok [Hungarian Folksongs], planned 1st ser., c1904–5 (no.1 Z 1963), inc.: 1 Lekaszálták már a rétet [They have mowed the pasture already]; 2 Add reám csókodat, el kell mennem [Kiss me, for I have to leave]; 3 Fehér László lovat lopott [László Fehér stole a horse]; 4 Az egri ménes mind szürke [The horses of Eger are all grey]; no.2 arr. pf, bb38/1


A kicsi ‘tót’-nak [For the Little ‘Tót’] (Hung. children’s songs), 1905 (no.3 in J. Demény: Bartók Béla: levelek, Budapest, 1948): 1 Álmos vagyok [I am sleepy]; 2 Ejnye, ejnye, nézz csak ide [Oh, oh, look there]; 3 Puha meleg tolla van a kismadárnak [The little bird]; 4 Bim bam zúg a harang [Bim bam, ring the bells]; 5 Esik eső esdegél [The rain is falling]


Magyar népdalok [Hungarian Folksongs], 1906 (R 1906), rev. 1938 (Rv 1938): 1 Elindultam szép hazámbul [I left my fair homeland]; 2 Által mennék én a Tiszán ladikon [I would cross the Tisza in a boat]; 3a–b Fehér László lovat lopott [László Fehér stole a horse]; 4a (4 in rev.) A gyulai kert alatt [Behind the garden of Gyula]; 4b (5 in rev.) A kertmegi kert alatt [Behind the garden of Kertmeg]; 5 (not in rev.) Ucca, ucca, ég az ucca [The street is on fire]; 6 Ablakomba, ablakomba, besütött a holdvilág [In my window shone the moonlight]; 7 Száraz ágtól messze virít a rózsa [From the withered branch no rose blooms]; 8 Végigmentem a tárkányi, sej, haj, nagy uccán [I walked to the end of the great street in Tárkány]; 9 Nem messze van ide Kis Margitta [Not far from here is little Margitta]; 10 Szánt a babám [My sweetheart is ploughing]; also nos. 11–20 by Kodály; nos.1, 2, 4, 9, 8 rev. 1928 as Five Hungarian Folksongs, bb97


Magyar népdalok [Hungarian Folksongs], 2nd ser., 1906–7 (nos.4, 6, 7, 8, Z 1963): 1 Tiszán innen, Tiszán túl [On this side of the Tisza, on that side of the Tisza]; 2 Erdők, völgyek, szűk ligetek [Woods, valleys, narrow parks]; 3 Olvad a hó [The snow is melting]; 4 Ha bemegyek a csárdába [Down at the tavern]; 5 Fehér László lovat lopott [László Fehér stole a horse]; 6 Megittam a piros bort [My glass is empty]; 7 Ez a kislány gyöngyöt fűz [This maiden threading]; 8 Sej, mikor engem katonának visznek [The young soldier]; 9 Még azt mondják [And they still say]; 10 Kis kece lányom [My dear daughter]; nos.5, 10 arr. pf, bb53/ii/28, 53/i/17


Two Hungarian Folksongs, 1907 (no.1 Z 1963, no.2 in Documenta bartókiana, iv, 1970): Édesanyám rózsafája [My mother’s rose tree]; Túl vagy rózsám, túl vagy a Málnás erdején [My sweetheart, you are beyond the Málnás woods]


Four Slovakian Folksongs (nos.1, 3, 4 Z 1963): 1 V tej bystrickej bráne [Roses in the Fields], 1907

2 Pod lipko nad lipko, 1907

3 Pohřebni písen [Dirge], 1907

4 Pritelel pták [The Message], 1916

no.2 lost


Nyolc magyar népdal [Eight Hungarian Folksongs], nos.1–5 1907, nos.6–8 1917 (U 1922): 1 Fekete főd [Black is the earth]; 2 Istenem, Istenem [My God, my God]; 3 Asszonyok, asszonyok, had’ legyek társatok [Wives, wives, let me be one of your company]; 4 Annyi bánat [So much sorrow]; 5 Ha kimegyek [If I climb]; 6 Töltik a nagyerdő útját [They are mending the great forest highway]; 7 Eddig való dolgom [Up to now my work]; 8 Olvad a hó [The snow is melting]


Nine Romanian Folksongs, c1912 [completed from draft by B. Suchoff, unpubd]: 1 I went off to church one day; 2 Ev’ry lad wants me to perish; 3 Woe is me; 4 See the verdant silken tassel; 5 In the village hall; 6 While I still lived with my mother; 7 You are far away from me; 8 Many thoughts have come into mind; 9 Those who have bad luck


Öt dal [Five Songs], op.15, 1916 (U 1961, rev. edn U 1991): 1 Tavasz [Spring] (K. Gombossy); 2 Nyár [Summer] (Gombossy); 3 A vágyak éjjele [Night of Desire] (W. Gleiman); 4 Tél [Winter] (Gombossy); 5 Ősz [Autumn] (Gombossy)


Öt dal [Five Songs] (E. Ady), op.16, 1916 (U 1923): 1 Három őszi könnycsepp [Autumn Tears]; 2 Az őszi lárma [Autumn Echoes]; 3 Az ágyam hivogat [Lost Content]; 4 Egyedül a tengerrel [Alone with the Sea]; 5 Nem mehetek hozzád [I cannot come to you]


Krutí Tono vretena [Tony Whirls the Spindle], 1916 (Z 1963)


Falun (Dedinské scény) [Village Scenes] (Slovak trad.), female v, pf, 1924 (U 1927, rev. edn U 1994): 1 Szénagyűjtéskor (Pri hrabaní) [Haymaking]; 2 A menyasszonynál (Pri neveste) [At the Bride’s]; 3 Lakodalom (Svatba) [Wedding]; 4 Bölcsődal (Ukoliebavka) [Lullaby]; 5 Legénytánc (Tanec mládencov) [Lads’ Dance]; nos. 3–5 arr. female vv, chbr orch, bb87b


Five Hungarian Folksongs, 1928 (Z 1970) [rev. of bb42, nos1, 2, 4, 9, 8]


Húsz magyar népdal [Twenty Hungarian Folksongs], i–iv, 1929 (U 1932) vol.i, Szomorú nóták [Sad Songs]: 1 A tömlöcben [In Prison]; 2 Régi keserves [Old Lament]; 3 Bujdosó ének [The Fugitive]; 4 Pásztornóta [Herdsman’s Song] vol.ii, Táncdalok [Dancing Songs]: 5 Székely lassú [Slow Dance]; 6 Székely friss [Fast Dance]; 7 Kanásztanc [Swineherd’s Dance]; 8 ‘Hatforintos’ nóta [‘Six-Florin’ Dance] vol.iii, Vegyes dalok [Diverse Songs]: 9 Juhászcsúfoló, [The Shepherd]; 10 Tréfás nóta [Joking Song]; 11 Párosító I [Nuptial Serenade]; 12 Párosító II [Humorous Song]; 13 Pár-ének [Dialogue Song]; 14 Panasz [Complaint]; 15 Bordal [Drinking Song] vol.iv, Új dalok [New-Style Songs]: 16 (i) Allegro: Hej, édesanyám [Oh, my dear mother]; (ii) Più allegro: Érik a ropogós cseresznye [Ripening Cherries]; (iii) Moderato: Már Dobozon [Long ago at Doboz]; (iv) Allegretto: Sárga kukoricaszár [Yellow Cornstalk]; (v) Allegro non troppo: Búza, búza, búza [Wheat, wheat, wheat] nos.1, 2, 11, 14, 12 orchd, bb108


Hungarian Folksong: Debrecennek van egy vize [arr. of pf work, bb53/i/16], ?1937 (in B. Paulini: Gyöngyösbokréta, Budapest, 1937, p.10)


Ukrainian Folksong: A férj keserve [The Husband’s Grief], 1945 (facs. in J. Demény, ed.: Bartók Béla levelei, Budapest, 1951)


Ukrainian Folksongs, cycle, c1945, inc.: 1 Ta ne sa mam [I was not alone]; 2 Ne budu ja vodu piti [I shall not drink the water]; 3 Če my chlopci nekopalci [Not in a ditch, lads]

See also piano [Mikrokosmos, bb105/65, 74b, 95b, 127]

Arrangements of Bartók’s works by or involving others

Romanian Folk Dances, vn, pf, arr. Z. Székely, 1925–6 (U 1926) [arr. of pf work bb68]

Hungarian Folk Tunes, vn, pf, arr. J. Szigeti with Bartók’s advice, 1926–7 (U 1927) [arr. of pf work bb53, orig. nos.ii/28, i/18, ii/42, ii/33, i/6, i/13, ii/38]


Sonatina, vn, pf, arr. E. Gertler with Bartók, c1930 (Rv 1931) [arr. of pf work bb69; used by Bartók as basis for orch version bb102b]


Magyar népdalok [Hungarian Folksongs], vn, pf, i–ii, arr. T. Országh with Bartók, 1931 (R 1934) [arr. of pf work bb53, orig. nos.ii/34, ii/36, i/17, ii/31, i/16, i/14, i/19, i/8, i/21]

Five Pieces from Mikrokosmos, str qt, arr. T. Serly, 1941–2 (B 1942) [arr. of pf pieces bb105/139, 102, 108, 116, 142]

Mikrokosmos Suite, orch, arr. T. Serly, c1942 (B 1943) [arr. of pf pieces bb105/139, 137, 117, 142, 102, 151, 153, prefaced by orch of material from piano work bb80b (1942 version)]

Editions and arrangements by Bartók

Concert arrangements for piano
  • B. Bartók, ed.
  • Italian kbd music, 1–11, BB A4a–k, 1926–8 (New York, 1930): 1 B. Marcello: Sonata, B♭; 2 M. Rossi: Toccata no.1, C; 3 M. Rossi: Toccata no.2, a; 4 M. Rossi: Tre correnti; 5–8 A.B. Della Ciaia: Sonata, G: Toccata, Canzone, Primo tempo, Secondo tempo; 9 G. Frescobaldi: Toccata, G; 10 G. Frescobaldi: Fuga, g [misattrib.; by G. Muffat]; 11 D. Zipoli: Pastorale, C
  • J.S. Bach: Sonata VI, bwv530, org; BB A5, c1929 (Rv 1930)
  • H. Purcell: Two Preludes, BB A6, c1929 (Los Angeles, 1947)
Educational editions of piano works
  • J.S. Bach: Das wohltemperierte Klavier, 1–4 (R 1907–8, rev. i–ii R 1913); 12 Easy Piano Pieces (Rv 1916; rev. with extra no., Rv 1924)
  • L. van Beethoven: 25 Sonatas (Rv 1909–12; opp.101, 111, unpubd); 7 Bagatelles, op.33; Variations, op.34; ‘Eroica’ Variations and Fugue, op.35; Polonaise, op.89; 11 neue Bagatellen, op.119 (all R 1910); Ecossaises (Budapest, 1920)
  • F.F. Chopin: 14 Valses (Budapest, 1920); F. Couperin: 18 Pieces (R 1924); J. Haydn: 19 Sonatas, nos.1–17 (R 1911–13); nos.18–19 (R 1920); W.A. Mozart: 20 Sonatas (R 1910–12); Fantasy K397/K385g (R 1910); D. Scarlatti: 10 Sonatas (R 1921, 1926); F. Schubert: 2 Scherzi (R 1911); R. Schumann: Jugendalbum (R 1911); Studies by J.B. Duvernoy, S. Heller, L. Köhler (Budapest, 1917–20)
Critical editions
  • F. Liszt: Hungaria, rev. 1911; in Musikalische Werke, 1/5 (Leipzig, 1907–36/R)
  • F. Liszt: Ungarischer Marsch, Ungarischer Sturmmarsch, orch, 1916; in Musikalische Werke, 1/12 (Leipzig, 1907–36/R)
  • F. Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsodies, pf, 1911–17, incl. in Musikalische Werke, 2/2, ed. P. Raabe (Leipzig, 1926/R)
  • Cadenza: L. van Beethoven: Pf Conc. no.3, 1st movt, BB A2, 1900, unpubd
  • Cadenzas: W.A. Mozart: 2 Pf Conc., K365/316a; BB A7, c1939, unpubd
  • Arr. ‘Rákóczi’ March, BB A1, pf 4 hands, 1896, unpubd
  • Arr. L. van Beethoven: Erlkönig, WoO131; BB A3, orchd c1905, unpubd
  • Unpubd frags., see DD appendices B–E (juvenilia) and main text of BB


books and collected writings only

for listing of individual articles see Grove6

  • Cântece poporale româneşti din comitatul Bihor (Ungaria)/Chansons populaires roumaines du département Bihar (Hongrie) (Bucharest, 1913); repr. as Ethnomusikologische Schriften, iii, ed. D. Dille (Budapest, 1967); Eng. trans. of preface in Béla Bartók Studies in Ethnomusicology, ed. B. Suchoff (Lincoln, NE, 1997),1–23
  • ed., with Z. Kodály: Erdélyi magyar népdalok [Hungarian folksongs from Transylvania] (Budapest, 1923/R); Eng. trans. of preface in Béla Bartók Studies in Ethnomusicology, ed. B. Suchoff (Lincoln, NE, 1997), 77–134
  • Volksmusik der Rumänen von Maramureş (Munich, 1923); repr. as Ethnomusikologische Schriften, ii, ed. D. Dille (Budapest, 1966); Eng. edn as Rumanian Folk Music, v, ed. B. Suchoff (The Hague, 1975)
  • A magyar népdal [The Hungarian folksong] (Budapest, 1924); Eng. trans., 1931/R; repr. in Hung. and Ger. in Ethnomusikologische Schriften, i, ed. D. Dille (Budapest, 1965–8), 341–432; rev. Hung. version in Bartók Béla írásai, v, ed. D. Révész (Budapest, 1990)
  • Melodien der rumänischen Colinde (Weihnachtslieder) (Vienna, 1935), repr. with unpubd pt. 2 as Ethnomusikologische Schriften, iv, ed. D. Dille (Budapest, 1968); Eng. edn as Rumanian Folk Music, iv, ed. B. Suchoff (The Hague, 1975)
  • ed. B. Szabolcsi and A. Szőllősy: Bartók Béla válogatott zenei írásai [Selected musical writings of Béla Bartók] (Budapest, 1948, 2/1956)
  • with A. Lord: Serbo-Croatian Folk Songs (New York, 1951); repr. as Yugoslav Folk Music, i, ed. B. Suchoff (Albany, NY, 1978)
  • ed., with Z. Kodály: A magyar népzene tára [Corpus of Hungarian music] (Budapest, 1951–)
  • ed. D. Carpitella: Béla Bartók: scritti sulla musica popolare (Turin, 1955)
  • ed. Z. Vancea: Béla Bartók: Însemnări asupra cîntecului popular [Béla Bartók: notes on folksong] (Bucharest, 1956)
  • ed. A. Elscheková, O. Elschek and J. Kresánek: Slovenské lľudové piesne/Slowakische Volkslieder, 1 (Bratislava, 1959); ii (1970), iii (forthcoming); Eng. trans. of preface in Béla Bartók Studies in Ethnomusicology, ed. B. Suchoff (Lincoln, NE, 1997)
  • ed. E. Hykischová: Béla Bartók: Postřehy a názory [Béla Bartók: observations and opinions] (Bratislava, 1965)
  • ed. D. Dille: Ethnomusikologische Schriften (Budapest, 1965–8)
  • ed. A. Szőllősy: Bartók Béla összegyűjtött írásai [Collected writings of Béla Bartók], 1 (Budapest, 1966)
  • ed. B. Suchoff: Rumanian Folk Music (The Hague, 1967–75)
  • ed. D. Dille: Documenta bartókiana, 4 (Budapest, 1970) [incl. essay drafts and variants]
  • ed. B. Szabolcsi: Musiksprachen, Aufsätze und Vorträge (Leipzig, 1972)
  • ed. L. Vikár: Béla Bartók’s Folk Music Research in Turkey (Budapest, 1976)
  • ed. B. Suchoff: Béla Bartók: Turkish Folk Music from Asia Minor (Princeton, NJ, 1976)
  • ed. B. Suchoff: Béla Bartók Essays (London, 1976)
  • ed. L. Somfai: Documenta bartókiana, 5 (1977) [incl. essay drafts and variants]
  • ed. B. Suchoff: Yugoslav Folk Music (Albany, NY, 1978)
  • ‘Bartók és a szavak’ [Bartók and words], Arion, no.13 (1982) [whole issue, incl. essay drafts and variants]
  • ed. T. Tallián: Bartók Béla írásai, i: Bartók Béla önmagáról, műveiről, az új magyar zenéről, műzene és népzene viszonyáról [Béla Bartók’s writings, i: on himself, his music, new Hungarian music, and the connection between art and folk music] (Budapest, 1989)
  • ed. S. Kovács and F. Sebő: Magyar népdalok, egyetemes gyűjtemény, 1 [Hungarian folksongs, complete collection, i] (Budapest, 1991; Eng. trans., 1993)
  • ed. B. Suchoff: Béla Bartók Studies in Ethnomusicology (Lincoln, NE, 1997)


  • coll., with Z. Kodály: Magyar népzenei gramofonfelvételek, 1 [Hungarian Folk-Music Gramophone Recordings, i], rec. 1937
  • coll., with J. Deutsch and S. Veress: A Magyar rádió és a néprajzi múzeum gyűjteménye [Collection of the Hungarian Radio and Ethnographic Museum], rec. 1937–9; reissued as Hungarian Folk Music: Gramophone Records with Bartók’s Transcriptions, Hungaroton, LPX 18058–60 (1981) [ed. L. Somfai]
  • Centenary Edition of Bartók’s Records (Complete), i: Bartók at the Piano, 1920–1945; 2. Bartók Record Archives: Bartók Plays and Talks, 1912–1944, Hungaroton, LPX 12326–38 (1981) [ed. L. Somfai, Z. Kocsis, J. Sebestyén, with notes by L. Somfai] (Budapest, 1981, i: rev. 2/1991, ii: rev. 2/1995)


A: Documents, catalogues and source information
  • J. Demény, ed.: Bartók Béla levelei [Letters] (Budapest, 1948–71, enlarged 2/1976; Eng. trans., 1971)
  • J. Demény: ‘Bartók Béla tanuló évei és romantikus korszaka’ [Bartók’s years of study and his romantic period], ZT, 2 (1954), 323–487 [documents of 1899–1905]
  • J. Demény: ‘Bartók művészi kibontakozásának évei: találkozás a népzenével’ [Bartók’s years of artistic development: contact with folk music], ZT, 3 (1955), 286–459 [documents of 1906–14]
  • B. Szabolcsi, ed.: Bartók: sa vie et son oeuvre (Budapest, 1956, 2/1968)
  • V. Juhász, ed.: Bartók Béla amerikai évei [Bela Bartók’s American years] (New York, 1956; Eng. trans., 1981)
  • F. Bónis, ed.: Bartók Béla élete képekben [Béla Bartók’s life in pictures] (Budapest, 1956, 2/1958)
  • J. Ujfalussy, ed.: Bartók breviárium (Budapest, 1958, 3/1980) [letters, essays and documents]
  • W. Reich, ed.: Béla Bartók: eigene Schriften und Erinnerungen der Freunde (Basle, 1958)
  • J. Demény, ed.: ‘Bartók Béla megjelenése az európai zeneéletben’ [Bartók’s appearance in European musical life], ZT, 7 (1959), 5–425 [documents of 1914–26]
  • J. Demény, ed.: ‘Bartók Béla pályája delelőjén’ [The zenith of Bartók’s career], ZT, 10 (1962), 189–787 [documents of 1926–40]
  • V. Bator: The Béla Bartók Archives: History and Catalogue (New York, 1963)
  • F. Bónis: Béla Bartóks Leben in Bildern (Budapest, 1964, enlarged 2/1972 in Hung. and Ger.; Eng. trans., 1972, 2/1981)
  • D. Dille, ed.: Documenta bartókiana, 1–4 (Budapest, 1964–70)
  • E. Helm: Béla Bartók in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten (Hamburg, 1965)
  • V. Čížik, ed.: Bartóks Briefe in die Slowakei (Bratislava, 1971)
  • D. Dille: Thematisches Verzeichnis der Jugendwerke Béla Bartóks, 1890–1904 (Kassel, 1974)
  • F. László, ed.: 99 Bartók-levél [99 Bartók letters] (Bucharest, 1974)
  • F. László, ed.: Béla Bartók scrisori [Béla Bartók letters] (Bucharest, 1976)
  • L. Somfai, ed.: Documenta bartókiana, 5–6 (Budapest, 1977-81)
  • V. Lampert: Bartók népdalfeldolgozásainak forrásjegyzéke [Catalogue of sources of Bartók’s folksong arrangements] (Budapest, 1980); Ger. trans. in Documenta bartókiana, vi (Budapest, 1981), 15–149
  • P. Autexier, ed.: Béla Bartók: musique de la vie (Paris, 1981)
  • L. Somfai: ‘Manuscript versus Urtext: the Primary Sources of Bartók’s Works’, SMH, 23 (1981), 2–66
  • B. Suchoff: ‘The New York Bartók Archives’, MT, 122 (1981), 156–9
  • A. Wilheim: ‘A Bartók Bibliography, 1970–1980’, SMH, 23 (1981), 477–92
  • B. Bartók, jr and A. Gombocz, eds.: Bartók Béla családi levelei [Letters of the Béla Bartók family] (Budapest, 1981)
  • B. Bartók, jr: Apám életének krónikája [Chronicle of my father’s life] (Budapest, 1981)
  • F. Bónis, ed.: Így láttuk Bartókot: harminchat emlékezés [So saw we Bartók: thirty-six recollections] (Budapest, 1981, 2/1995)
  • B. Bartók, jr: Bartók Béla műhelyében [In Béla Bartók’s workshop] (Budapest, 1982)
  • L. Somfai: ‘The Budapest Bartók Archives’, FAM, 29 (1982), 59–65
  • H. Lindlar: Lübbes Bartók-Lexikon (Bergisch Gladbach, 1984)
  • E. Antokoletz: Béla Bartók: a Guide to Research (New York, 1988, 2/1997)
  • T. Tallián: Bartók fogadtatása Amerikában, 1940–1945 [Bartók’s Reception in America, 1940–1945] (Budapest, 1988)
  • M. Gillies: Bartók Remembered (London, 1990)
  • L. Somfai: ‘Problems of the Chronological Organization of the Béla Bartók Thematic Index in Preparation’, SMH, 34 (1992), 345–66
  • G. Kiss: ‘A Bartók Bibliography, 1980–1989’, SMH, 35 (1993–4), 435–53
  • J. Gergely, ed.: Béla Bartók: eléments d’un autoportrait (Paris, 1995)
  • G. Kroó, ed.: Bartók Béla, 1881–1945 (Budapest, 1995; Eng. trans., 1997) [CD-ROM]
B: Symposia, collections of essays
  • Béla Bartók: a Memorial Review (New York, 1950)
  • Musik der Zeit, Ungarische Komponisten, no.9 (1954) [Hungary issue]
  • Z. Kodály, B. Rajeczky and L. Vargyas, eds.: Studia memoriae Belae Bartók sacra (Budapest, 1956)
  • Liszt–Bartók: Budapest 1961
  • Conference in Commemoration of Béla Bartók: Budapest 1971
  • F. László, ed.: Bartók-dolgozatok [Bartók studies] (Bucharest, 1974)
  • T. Crow, ed.: Bartók Studies (Detroit, 1976)
  • F. László: Bartók Béla: tanulmányok és tanúságok [Béla Bartók: essays and testimonies] (Bucharest, 1980)
  • International Music Council Congress: Budapest 1981 [SMH, xxiv/3–4 (1982)]
  • F. László, ed.: Bartók-dolgozatok, 1981 [Bartók studies, 1981] (Bucharest, 1982)
  • F. Spangemacher, ed.: Béla Bartók zu Leben und Werk (Bonn, 1982)
  • J. Gergely, ed.: Béla Bartók vivant (Paris, 1985)
  • G. Ránki, ed.: Bartók and Kodály Revisited (Budapest, 1987)
  • M. Gillies, ed.: The Bartók Companion (London, 1993)
  • P. Laki, ed.: Bartók and his World (Princeton, NJ, 1995)
  • Bartók Colloquium: Szombathely 1995 [SMH, xxxvi/3–4 (1995); xxxvii/1 (1996)]
C: Periodical issues
  • Musikblätter des Anbruch, 3/5 (1921)
  • Musikblätter des Anbruch, 8/5 (1926)
  • Melos, 5–6 (1949)
  • Új zenei szemle, 1/4–5 (1950)
  • Musik der Zeit, Béla Bartók, no.3 (1953)
  • Long Player, 2/10 (1953)
  • ReM, no.224 (1953–4)
  • ReM, nos.328–35 (1980)
  • Igaz Szó, 29/2 (1981)
  • SMH, 23 (1981)
  • SMH, 24 (1982), suppl.
  • Musik-Konzepte, no.22 (1981)
  • Jb Peters, 4 (1981–2)
  • ‘Bartók és a szavak’ [Bartók and words], Arion, no.13 (1982)
  • Melos [Stockholm], nos.12–13 (1995)
D: Life and works
  • E. Haraszti: Bartók Béla élete és művei [Béla Bartók’s life and works] (Budapest, 1930; Eng. trans., 1938)
  • D. Dille: Béla Bartók (Antwerp, 1939)
  • J. Demény: Bartók élete és művei [Bartók’s life and works] (Budapest, 1948)
  • A. Molnár: Bartók művészete, emlékezésekkel a művész életére [Bartók’s art, with recollections of the artist’s life] (Budapest, 1948)
  • H. and J. Geraedts: Béla Bartók (Haarlem, 1952, 2/1961)
  • H. Stevens: The Life and Music of Béla Bartók (New York, 1953, rev. 3/1993 by M. Gillies)
  • I. Martïnov: Béla Bartók (Moscow, 1956, 2/1968)
  • J. Uhde: Béla Bartók (Berlin, 1959)
  • L. Lesznai: Béla Bartók: sein Leben, seine Werke (Leipzig, 1961; Eng. trans., 1973)
  • P. Citron: Bartók (Paris, 1963, 3/1994)
  • G. Berger: Béla Bartók (Wolfenbüttel, 1963)
  • Z. Pálová-Vrbová: Béla Bartók, 1881–1945: život a dílo [Béla Bartók: life and works] (Prague, 1963)
  • J. Ujfalussy: Bartók Béla (Budapest, 1965, 3/1976; Eng. trans., 1972)
  • I. Nest’yev: Béla Bartók, 1881–1945: zhizn′ i tvorchestvo [Bartók: life and works] (Moscow, 1969)
  • T. Zieliński: Bartók (Kraków, 1969; Ger. trans., 1973)
  • D. Dille: Béla Bartók (Antwerp, 1974)
  • V. Lampert: Bartók Béla (Budapest, 1976)
  • S. Arvidsson: Béla Bartók (Göteborg, 1981)
  • Y. Queffélec: Béla Bartók (Paris, 1981)
  • T. Tallián: Bartók Béla (Budapest, 1981; Eng. trans., 1988)
  • P. Griffiths: Bartók (London, 1984)
  • J. de Waard: Bartók (Haarlem, 1993)
  • A. Castronuovo: Bartók (Sannicandro Garganico, 1995)
  • K. Chalmers: Béla Bartók (London, 1995)
E: General biographical and critical studies
  • A. Cserna: ‘Bartók Béla és művei’ [Béla Bartók and his works], Zeneközlöny, 15 (1917)
  • C. Gray: ‘Béla Bartók’, Sackbut, 1 (1920), 301–12
  • E. Wellesz: ‘Ungarische Musik, i: Béla Bartók’, Musikblätter des Anbruch, 2 (1920), 225–8
  • Z. Kodály: ‘Béla Bartók’, ReM, 2/5 (1921), 205–17
  • M.-D. Calvocoressi: ‘Musicisti contemporanei: Béla Bartók’, Il Pianoforte, 3 (1922), 113–17
  • C. Gray: ‘Béla Bartók’, A Survey of Contemporary Music (London, 1924), 194–209
  • E. von der Nüll: ‘Zur Kompositionstechnik Bartóks’, Anbruch, 10 (1928), 278–82
  • H. Leichtentritt: ‘On the Art of Béla Bartók’, MM, 6/3 (1928–9), 3–11
  • E. von der Nüll: Béla Bartók: ein Beitrag zur Morphologie der neuen Musik (Halle, 1930)
  • L. Pollatsek: ‘Béla Bartók and his Work’, MT, 72 (1931), 411–13, 506–10, 600–602, 697–9
  • H. Leichtentritt: ‘Bartók and Hungarian Folksong’, MM, 10 (1933), 130–39
  • E. Ormándy: ‘Modern Hungarian Music’, Hungarian Quarterly, 3 (1937), 164–8
  • E. Blom: ‘Bartók’s Third Period’, Tempo, no.5 (1941), 2–4
  • B. Kiss: Bartók Béla művészete [Béla Bartók’s art] (Cluj, 1946)
  • J. Weissmann: ‘Béla Bartók: an Estimate’, MR, 7 (1946), 221–41
  • R. Leibowitz: ‘Béla Bartók ou la possibilité de compromis dans la musique contemporaine’, Temps modernes, 3 (1947–8), 705–34
  • S. Moreux: Béla Bartók: sa vie, ses oeuvres, son langage (Paris, 1949; Eng. trans., 1953)
  • C. Mason: ‘Bartók and Folksong’, MR, 11 (1950), 292–302
  • E. Balogh: ‘Bartók’s Last Years’, Tempo, no.36 (1955), 14–16
  • J. Székely: Bartók tanár úr (Pécs, 1957, 2/1978; Ger. rev. 1995)
  • A. Fassett: The Naked Face of Genius: Béla Bartók’s American Years (Boston, 1958; R/1970 as Béla Bartók: the American Years) [a novel]
  • F. Fricsay: Über Mozart und Bartók (Copenhagen, 1962)
  • F. Bónis: ‘Quotations in Bartók’s Music’, SMH, 5 (1963), 355–82
  • W. Rudziński: Warsztat kompozytorski Béli Bartóka [Béla Bartók’s compositional workshop] (Kraków, 1964)
  • J. Downey: La musique populaire dans l’oeuvre de Béla Bartók (diss., U. of Paris, 1966)
  • A. Cross: ‘Debussy and Bartók’, MT, 108 (1967), 125–31
  • J. Demény: Bartók Béla: a zongoraművész [Béla Bartók: the pianist] (Budapest, 1968, 2/1973)
  • G. Kroó: ‘Bartók Béla megvalósulatlan kompoziciós terveiről’ [Unrealized plans and ideas for projects by Béla Bartók], Magyar zene, 10 (1969), 251–63; Eng. trans., SMH, xii (1970), 11–27
  • A. Benkő: Bartók Béla romániai hangversenyei, 1922–1936 [Béla Bartók’s concerts in Romania, 1922–36] (Bucharest, 1970)
  • G. Weiss: Die Frühe Schaffensentwicklung Béla Bartóks im Lichte westlicher und östlicher Traditionen (diss., U. of Erlangen-Nuremberg, 1970)
  • G. Kroó: Bartók kalauz [A guide to Bartók] (Budapest, 1971; Eng. trans., 1974)
  • L. Burlas: ‘The Influence of Slovakian Folk Music on Bartók’s Musical Idiom’, Conference in Commemoration of Béla Bartók: Budapest 1971, 181–7
  • E. Lendvai: Bartók költői világa [Bartók’s poetic world] (Budapest, 1971)
  • G. Lukács: ‘Béla Bartók: on the 25th Anniversary of his Death’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.41 (1971), 42–55
  • O. Nordwall: Béla Bartók: Traditionalist-Modernist (Stockholm, 1972)
  • M. Rogers and Z. Oválry: ‘Bartók in the USSR in 1929’, Notes, 29 (1972–3), 416–25
  • F. Bónis, ed.: Magyar zenetörténeti tanulmányok [Hungarian studies in music history], 3 (Budapest, 1973)
  • W. Fuchss: Béla Bartók und die Schweiz: eine Dokumentensammlung (Berne, 1973)
  • M. Carner: ‘Béla Bartók’, NOHM, 10 (1974), 274–99
  • Y. Lenoir: Vie et oeuvre de Béla Bartók aux Etats-Unis d’Amérique, 1940–1945 (diss., U. of Leuven, 1976)
  • D. Zoltai: ‘Bartók nem alkuszik’ [Bartók does not compromise], Bartók nem alkuszik (Budapest, 1976), 136–53
  • D. Dille: Généalogie sommaire de la famille Bartók (Antwerp, 1977)
  • J. Breuer: Bartók és Kodály (Budapest, 1978)
  • D. Dille: Het werk van Béla Bartók (Antwerp, 1977)
  • A. Wilheim: ‘Bartók találkozása Debussy művészetével’ [Bartók’s encounter with Debussy’s art], Zenetudományi dolgozatok 1978 (Budapest, 1978), 107–11
  • T. Tallián: ‘Bartók-marginália’, Zenetudományi dolgozatok 1979 (Budapest, 1979), 35–46
  • B. Bartók, jr: ‘Bartók and the Visual Arts’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.81 (1981), 44–9
  • F. Bónis: ‘Bartók und Wagner’, ÖMz, 36 (1981), 134–47
  • J. Breuer: ‘Adorno’s Image of Bartók’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.82 (1981), 29–35
  • R. Schlötterer-Traimer: ‘Béla Bartók und die Tondichtungen von Richard Strauss’, ÖMz, 36 (1981), 311–18
  • L. Somfai: Tizennyolc Bartók-tanulmány [Eighteen Bartók essays] (Budapest, 1981)
  • B. Bartók, jr: ‘Kodály und Bartók’, Kodály Conference: Budapest 1982, 12–17
  • J. Takács: Erinnerungen an Béla Bartók (Vienna, 1982)
  • W. Frobenius: ‘Bartók und Bach’, AMw, 41 (1984), 54–67
  • B. Pethő: Bartók rejtekútja [Bartók’s secret path] (Budapest, 1984)
  • I. Volly: ‘Bartókné Pásztory Ditta’, Életünk, nos.7–8 (1984), 807–23, 873–84
  • J. Hunkemöller: ‘Bartóks Urteil über den Jazz’, Mf, 38 (1985), 27–36
  • Y. Lenoir: Folklore et transcendance dans l’oeuvre américaine de Béla Bartók (1940–1945) (Louvain-la-Neuve, 1986)
  • L. Somfai: ‘Liszt’s Influence on Bartók Reconsidered’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.102 (1986), 210–19
  • B. Suchoff: ‘Ethnomusicological Roots of Béla Bartók’s Musical Language’, World of Music, 29/1 (1987), 43–65
  • B. Szabolcsi: Kodályról és Bartókról [About Kodály and Bartók], ed. F. Bónis (Budapest, 1987)
  • L. Somfai: ‘Bartók Comes Home’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.112 (1988), 185–9
  • J. Frigyesi: Béla Bartók and Hungarian Nationalism (diss., U. of Pennsylvania, 1989)
  • M. Gillies: Bartók in Britain (Oxford, 1989)
  • D. Dille: Béla Bartók: regard sur le passé, ed. Y. Lenoir (Namur and Louvain-la-Neuve, 1990)
  • M. Gillies: ‘Bartók as Pedagogue’, SMA, 24 (1990), 64–86
  • F. Bónis: Hódolat Bartóknak és Kodálynak [Homage to Bartók and Kodály] (Budapest, 1992)
  • M. Gillies: ‘Stylistic Integrity and Influence in Bartók’s Works: the Case of Szymanowski’, International Journal of Musicology, 1 (1992), 139–60
  • A. Surrans: Bartók és Franciaország/Bartók et la France (Budapest, 1993)
  • J. Frigyesi: ‘Béla Bartók and the Concept of Nation and Volk in Modern Hungary’, MQ, 78 (1994), 255–87
  • C. Kenneson: Székely and Bartók: the Story of a Friendship (Portland, OR, 1994)
  • Z. Kocsis: ‘Dohnányi and Bartók as Performers’, Hungarian Quarterly, no.134 (1994), 149–53
  • C. Pesavento: Musik von Béla Bartók als pädagogisches Programm (Frankfurt, 1994)
  • J. Bényei, ed.: A mindenzég zenéje: Magyar költők versei Bartók Béláról [Music of the universe: Hungarian poetry about Béla Bartók] (Debrecen, 1995)
  • J. Breuer: ‘Bartók and the Third Reich’, Hungarian Quarterly, no.140 (1995), 134–40
  • V. Lampert: ‘Bartók’s Music on Record: an Index of Popularity’, SMH, 36 (1995), 393–412
  • F. László: ‘Rumänische Stilelemente in Bartóks Musik: Fakten und Deutungen’, SMH, 36 (1995), 413–28
  • V. Verspeurt: ‘Een status quaestionis van het Bartók-onderzoek’, RBM, 49 (1995), 251–8
  • L. Somfai: Béla Bartók: Composition, Concepts, and Autograph Sources (Berkeley, 1996)
  • J. Frigyesi: Béla Bartók and Turn-of-the-Century Budapest (Berkeley, 1998)
  • L. Vikárius: Modell és inspiráció Bartók zenei gondolkodásában [Model and inspiration in Bartók’s musical thought] (Pécs, 1999)
F: General analytical studies
  • E. Lendvai: Bartók stílusa [Bartók’s style] (Budapest, 1955)
  • E. Kapst: Die ‘polymodale Chromatik’ Béla Bartóks (diss., U. of Leipzig, 1969)
  • L. Somfai: “‘Per finire”: Some Aspects of the Finale in Bartók’s Cyclic Form’, SMH, 11 (1969), 391–408
  • L. Hartzell: Contrapuntal-Harmonic Factors in Selected Works of Béla Bartók (diss., U. of Kansas, 1970)
  • E. Kapst: ‘Stilkriterien der polymodal-kromatischen Gestaltungsweise im Werk Béla Bartóks’, BMw, 12 (1970), 1–28
  • P. Petersen: Die Tonalität im Instrumentalschaffen von Béla Bartók (Hamburg, 1971)
  • E. Lendvai: Béla Bartók: an Analysis of his Music (London, 1971)
  • L. Somfai: ‘A Characteristic Culmination Point in Bartók’s Instrumental Forms’, Conference in Commemoration of Béla Bartók: Budapest 1971, 53–64
  • L. Bárdos: A Bartók-zene stílus-elemei [Style elements of Bartók’s music] (Budapest, 1972; Eng. trans., 1984)
  • J. Breuer: ‘Kolinda-ritmika Bartók zenéjében’ [Colindă rhythms in Bartók’s music], Zeneelmélet, stíluselemzés (Budapest, 1977), 84–102
  • I. Oramo: Modaalinen symmetria: tutkimus Bartókin kromatiikasta (Helsinki, 1977)
  • A. Szentkirályi: ‘Some Aspects of Béla Bartók’s Compositional Techniques’, SMH, 20 (1978), 157–82
  • T. and P.J. Bachmann: ‘An Analysis of Béla Bartók’s Music through Fibonaccian Numbers and the Golden Mean’, MQ, 65 (1979), 72–82
  • I. Oramo: ‘Modale Symmetrie bei Bartók’, Mf, 33 (1980), 450–64
  • M. Radice: ‘Bartók’s Parodies of Beethoven’, MR, 42 (1981), 252–60
  • C. Vauclain: ‘Bartók: Beyond Bi-Modality’, MR, 42 (1981), 243–51
  • E. Antokoletz: ‘The Music of Bartók: Some Theoretical Approaches in the USA’, SMH, 24 (1982), suppl. 67–74
  • P. Dinkel: ‘La tentation atonale de Béla Bartók’, Revue musicale de la Suisse Romande, 35 (1982), 119–26
  • M. Gillies: ‘Bartók’s Last Works: a Theory of Tonality and Modality’, Musicology, 7 (1982), 120–30
  • E. Lendvai: The Workshop of Bartók and Kodály (Budapest, 1983)
  • E. Antokoletz: The Music of Béla Bartók (Berkeley, 1984)
  • M. Gillies: ‘Bartók’s Notation: Tonality and Modality’, Tempo, no.145 (1983), 4–9
  • R. Howat: ‘Bartók, Lendvai and the Principles of Proportional Analysis’, MAn, 2 (1983), 69–95; see also response by E. Lendvai, MAn, iii (1984), 255–64
  • L. Starr: ‘Melody-Accompaniment Textures in the Music of Bartók’, JM, 4 (1985–6), 91–104
  • J. Bernard: ‘Space and Symmetry in Bartók’, JMT, 30 (1986), 185–201
  • R. Howat: ‘Debussy, Bartók et les formes de la nature’, Revue musicale de la Suisse Romande, 39 (1986), 128–41
  • L. Somfai: ‘Nineteenth-Century Ideas Developed in Bartók’s Piano Notation in the Years 1907–14’, 19CM, 11 (1987–8), 73–91
  • R. Cohn: ‘Inversional Symmetry and Transpositional Combination in Bartók’, Music Theory Spectrum, 10 (1988), 19–42
  • M. Gillies: Notation and Tonal Structure in Bartók’s Later Works (New York, 1989)
  • R. Cohn: ‘Bartók’s Octatonic Strategies: a Motivic Approach’, JAMS, 44 (1991), 262–300
  • C. Morrison: ‘Fifth Progressions in Bartók: Structural Determinants or Mimicry?’, SMH, 34 (1992), 125–52
  • P. Wilson: The Music of Béla Bartók (New Haven, 1992)
  • E. Antokoletz: ‘Transformations of a Special Non-Diatonic Mode in Twentieth-Century Music: Bartók, Stravinsky, Scriabin and Albrecht’, MAn, 12 (1993), 25–45
  • A. Forte: ‘Foreground Rhythm in Early Twentieth-Century Music’, Models of Musical Analysis: Early Twentieth-Century Music, ed. J. Dunsby (Oxford, 1993), 133–45
  • M. Gillies: ‘Pitch Notations and Tonality (Bartók)’, Models of Musical Analysis: Early Twentieth-Century Music, 42–55
  • M. Russ: ‘Functions, Scales, Abstract Systems and Contextual Hierarchies in the Music of Bartók’, ML, 75 (1994), 401–25
  • M. Gillies: ‘Bartók Analysis and Authenticity’, SMH, 36 (1995), 319–27
  • D. Schneider: ‘Towards Bridging the Gap: the Culmination Point as a Fulcrum between Analysis and Interpretation’, SMH, 37 (1996), 21–36
  • D. Walker: Bartók Analysis: a Critical Examination and Application (diss., McMaster U., 1996)
  • F. Hentschel: Funktion und Bedeutung der Symmetrie in den Werken Béla Bartóks (Lucca, 1997)
  • D. Cooper: ‘The Unfolding of Tonality in the Music of Béla Bartók’, MAn, 17 (1998), 21–38
G: Individual works and genres
    • E. von der Nüll: ‘Stilelemente in Bartóks Oper Herzog Blaubarts Burg’, Melos, 8 (1929), 226–31
    • G. Kroó: ‘Duke Bluebeard’s Castle’, SMH, 1 (1961), 251–340
    • B. Szabolcsi: ‘Le mandarin miraculeux’, SMH, 1 (1961), 341–61
    • E. Lendvai: ‘Der wunderbare Mandarin’, SMH, 1 (1961), 363–429
    • G. Kroó: Bartók Béla színpadi művei [Béla Bartók’s stage works] (Budapest, 1962)
    • E. Lendvai: Bartók dramaturgiája [Bartók’s dramaturgy] (Budapest, 1964/R)
    • J. Chailley: ‘Essai d’analyse du Mandarin merveilleux’, SMH, 8 (1966), 11–39
    • G. Kroó: ‘Data on the Genesis of Duke Bluebeard’s Castle’, SMH, 23 (1981), 79–123
    • A. von Wangenheim: Béla Bartók: ‘Der wunderbare Mandarin’ (Overath, 1985)
    • E. Antokoletz: ‘Bartók’s Bluebeard: the Sources of its “Modernism”’, College Music Symposium, 30/1 (1990), 75–95
    • C. Leafstedt: ‘Structure in the Fifth Door Scene of Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle: an Alternative Viewpoint’, College Music Symposium, 30/1 (1990), 96–102
    • N. John, ed.: The Stage Works of Béla Bartók (London, 1991)
    • C.S. Leafstedt: Inside Bluebeard’s Castle (New York, 1999)
    • H. Cowell: ‘Bartók and his Violin Concerto’, Tempo, no.8 (1944), 4–6
    • G. French: ‘Continuity and Discontinuity in Bartók’s “Concerto for Orchestra”’, MR, 28 (1967), 122–34
    • J. McCabe: Bartók Orchestral Music (London, 1974)
    • T. Serly: ‘A Belated Account of the Reconstruction of a 20th-Century Masterpiece’, College Music Symposium, 15 (1975), 7–25 [on Viola Concerto]
    • D. Dalton: ‘The Genesis of Bartók’s Viola Concerto’, ML, 57 (1976), 117–29
    • F. Michael: Béla Bartóks Variationstechnik dargestellt im Rahmen einer Analyse seines 2. Violinkonzert (Regensburg, 1976)
    • L. Somfai: ‘Strategies of Variation in the Second Movement of Bartók’s Violin Concerto 1937–8’, SMH, 19 (1977), 161–202
    • S. Kovács: ‘Re-examining the Bartók/Serly Viola Concerto’, SMH, 23 (1981), 295–322
    • E. Lendvai: ‘The Quadrophonic Stage of Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.84 (1981), 70–85
    • J. Hunkemöller: Béla Bartók: Musik für Saiteninstrumente (Munich, 1982)
    • J. Hunkemöller: ‘Bartók analysiert seine “Musik für Saiteninstrumente, Schlagzeug und Celesta”’, AMw, 40 (1983), 147–63
    • B. Parker: ‘Parallels between Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra and Kübler-Ross’s Theory about the Dying’, MQ, 73 (1989), 532–56
    • K. Móricz: Bartók Béla: Concerto zenekarra [Béla Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra] (diss., Liszt Academy, Budapest, 1992)
    • A. Rizzuti: ‘Le geometrie imperfette della Musica per strumenti a corde, percussioni e celesta di Béla Bartók’, NRMI, 26 (1992), 37–51
    • P. Bartók: ‘The Principal Theme of Bartók’s Viola Concerto’, SMH, 35 (1993–4), 45–50
    • K. Móricz: ‘New Aspects of the Genesis of Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra’, SMH, 35 (1993–4), 181–219
    • G. Weiss-Aigner: ‘Das zweite Violinkonzert von Béla Bartók im Spektrum der gattungsgeschichtlichen Entwicklung’, SMH, 35 (1993–4), 303–39
    • M.A. Harley: ‘Birds in Concert: North-American Birdsong in Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 3’, Tempo, no.189 (1994), 8–16
    • K. Móricz: ‘Operating on a Fetus: Sketch Studies and their Relevance to the Interpretation of the Finale of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra’, SMH, 36 (1995), 461–76
    • B. Suchoff: Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra (New York, 1995)
    • P. Bartók: ‘Commentary on the Revision of Béla Bartók’s Viola Concerto’, Journal of the American Viola Society, 12/1 (1996), 11–33
    • D. Cooper: Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra (Cambridge, 1996)
    • D. Maurice and others: ‘Panel Discussion: the Bartók Viola Concerto’, Journal of the American Viola Society, 14/1 (1998), 15–49
    • D. Maurice: Bartók’s Viola Concerto: an Investigation of its Genesis, Reconstruction, Reception, Revision and Future Possibilities (diss., Otago U., 1997)
    • D. Schneider: Expression in the Time of Objectivity: Nationality and Modernity in Five Concertos by Béla Bartók (diss., U. of California, Berkeley, 1997)
    • T. Adorno: ‘Béla Bartóks Drittes Streichquartett’, Anbruch, 11/9–10 (1929), 358–60
    • G. Abraham: ‘The Bartók of the Quartets’, ML, 26 (1945), 185–94
    • M. Seiber: The String Quartets of Béla Bartók (London, 1945)
    • M. Babbitt: ‘The String Quartets of Bartók’, MQ, 35 (1949), 377–85
    • G. Perle: ‘Symmetrical Formations in the String Quartets of Béla Bartók’, MR, 16 (1955), 300–312
    • J. Kárpáti: ‘Az arab népzene hatásának nyomai Bartók II. vonósnégyesében’ [Traces of the influence of Arabic folk music in Bartók’s Second String Quartet], Új Zenei Szemle, 7 (1956), 8–15
    • R. Traimer: Béla Bartóks Kompositionstechnik dargestellt an seinen sechs Streichquartetten (Regensburg, 1956)
    • C. Mason: ‘An Essay in Analysis: Tonality, Symmetry and Latent Serialism in Bartók’s Fourth Quartet’, MR, 18 (1957), 189–201
    • L. Treitler: ‘Harmonic Procedures in the Fourth Quartet of Béla Bartók’, JMT, 3 (1959), 292–8
    • A. Forte: ‘Bartók’s Serial Composition’, MQ, 46 (1960), 233–45 [on Fourth String Quartet]
    • J. Kárpáti: Bartók vonósnégyesei [Bartók’s string quartets] (Budapest, 1967, 2/1976 as Bartók kamarazenéje [Bartók’s chamber music]); Eng. trans., 1975, enlarged as Bartók’s Chamber Music (Stuyvesant, NY, 1994)
    • B. Suchoff: ‘Structure and Concept in Bartók’s Sixth String Quartet’, Tempo, no.83 (1967–8), 2–11
    • K. Stockhausen: ‘Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.40 (1970), 49–53
    • R. Travis: ‘Tonal Coherence in the First Movement of Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet’, Music Forum, 2 (1970), 298–371
    • V. Lampert: ‘Vázlat Bartók II. vonósnégyesének utolsó tételéhez’ [Sketch for the last movement of Bartók’s Second String Quartet], Magyar zene, 13 (1972), 252–63
    • S. Veress: ‘Béla Bartóks 44 Duos für zwei Violinen’, Erich Doflein: Festschrift zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. L.U. Abraham (Mainz, 1972), 31–57
    • H. Fladt: Zur Problematik traditioneller Formtypen in der Musik des frühen zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts, dargestellt an Sonatensätzen in den Streichquartetten Béla Bartóks (Munich, 1974)
    • E. Antokoletz: Principles of Pitch Organization in Bartók’s Fourth String Quartet (diss., City U. of New York, 1975)
    • G. Perle: ‘The String Quartets of Béla Bartók’, A Musical Offering: Essays in Honor of Martin Bernstein, ed. E.H. Clinkscale and C. Brook (New York, 1977), 193–210
    • W. Berry: ‘Symmetrical Interval Sets and Derivative Pitch Materials in Bartók’s Quartet No.3’, PNM, 18 (1979–80), 287–380
    • Y. Lenoir: ‘Contributions à l’étude de la Sonate pour violon solo de Béla Bartók’, SMH, 23 (1981), 209–60
    • S. Walsh: Bartók’s Chamber Music (London, 1982)
    • D. Locke: ‘Numerical Aspects of Bartók’s String Quartets’, MT, 128 (1987), 322–5
    • M. Beach: Bartók’s Fifth String Quartet: Studies in Genesis and Structure (diss., U. of Rochester, 1988)
    • C. Morrison: ‘Prolongation in the Final Movement of Bartók’s String Quartet No.4’, Music Theory Spectrum, 13 (1991), 179–96
    • P. Petersen: ‘Rhythmik und Metrik in Bartóks Sonate für zwei Klaviere und Schlagzeug und die Kritik des jungen Stockhausen an Bartók’, Musiktheorie, 9 (1994), 39–48
    • A. Molnár: Bartók Két elégiájának elemzése [An analysis of Bartók’s Two Elegies] (Budapest, 1921)
    • E. Lendvai: ‘Bartók: Az éjszaka zenéje’ [Bartók: The Night’s Music], Zenei szemle, 1 (1947), 216
    • H.U. Engelmann: Bela Bartoks Mikrokosmos: Versuch einer Typologie ‘Neuer Musik’ (Würzburg, 1953/R)
    • J. Uhde: Bartóks Mikrokosmos: Spielanweisungen und Erläuterungen (Regensburg, 1954, 2/1988)
    • B. Suchoff: Guide to Bartók’s ‘Mikrokosmos’ (London, 1957, 2/1971)
    • D. Bratuz: The Folk Element in the Piano Music of Béla Bartók (diss., Indiana U., 1965)
    • J. Vinton: ‘Toward a Chronology of the Mikrokosmos’, SMH, 8 (1966), 41–69
    • T. Hundt: Bartóks Satztechnik in den Klavierwerken (Regensburg, 1971)
    • D. Bratuz: ‘On Bartók’s Improvisations and the Pippa Principle’, Studies in Music [Ontario], 2 (1977), 8–14
    • E. Antokoletz: ‘The Musical Language of Bartók’s 14 Bagatelles for Piano’, Tempo, no.137 (1981), 8–16
    • I. Waldbauer: ‘Intellectual Construct and Tonal Direction in Bartók’s “Divided Arpeggios”’, SMH, 24 (1982), 527–36
    • K. Agawu: ‘Analytical Issues Raised by Bartók’s Improvisations for Piano, Op.20’, JMR, 5 (1984), 131–63
    • L. Somfai: ‘Analytical Notes on Bartók’s Piano Year of 1926’, SMH, 26 (1984), 5–58
    • P. Wilson: ‘Concepts of Prolongation and Bartók’s Opus 20’, Music Theory Spectrum, 6 (1984), 79–89
    • I. Waldbauer: ‘Conflict of Tonal and Non-Tonal Elements in Bartók’s “Free Variations”’, Bartók and Kodály Revisited, ed. G. Ranki (Budapest, 1987), 199–209
    • D. Yeomans: Bartók for Piano (Bloomington, IN, 1988)
    • V. Fischer: Béla Bartók’s Fourteen Bagatelles op.6: Determining Performance Authenticity (diss., U. of Texas, Austin, 1989)
    • I. Waldbauer: ‘Polymodal Chromaticism and Tonal Plan in the First of Bartók’s Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm’, SMH, 32 (1990), 241–62
    • L. Somfai: ‘The Influence of Peasant Music on the Finale of Bartók’s Piano Sonata’, Studies in Musical Sources and Style: Essays in Honor of Jan LaRue, ed. E. Wolf and E. Roesner (Madison, WI, 1990), 535–55
    • J. Parakilas: ‘Folksong as Musical Wet Nurse: the Prehistory of Bartók’s For Children’, MQ, 81 (1995), 476–500
    • P. Meyer: Béla Bartóks ‘Ady-Lieder’ op.16 (Winterthur, 1965)
    • M. Szabó: Bartók Béla kórusművei [Béla Bartók’s choral works] (Budapest, 1985)
    • L. Vikárius: ‘Béla Bartók’s Cantata Profana (1930): a Reading of the Sources’, SMH, 35 (1993–4), 249–301
    • I. Arauco: ‘Methods of Translation in Bartók’s Twenty Hungarian Folksongs’, JMR, 12 (1992), 189–211
    • T. Tallián: ‘Let this cup pass from me …: the Cantata Profana and the Gospel according to Saint Matthew’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.139 (1995)
H: Ethnomusicological research
  • C. Brăiloiu: ‘Béla Bartók folkloriste’, SMz, 88 (1948), 92–4
  • J. Szegő: Bartók Béla, a népdalkutató [Béla Bartók, the folksong researcher] (Bucharest, 1956)
  • J. Downey: La musique populaire dans l’oeuvre de Béla Bartók (diss., U. of Paris, 1966)
  • J. Kuckertz: Gestaltvariation in den von Bartók gesammelten rumänischen Colinden (Regensburg, 1963)
  • B. Suchoff: ‘Bartók and Serbo-Croatian Folk Music’, MQ, 58 (1972), 557–71
  • P.P. Domokos: Bartók Béla kapcsolata a moldvai csángómagyarokkal [Béla Bartók’s connection with the csángós of Moldavia] (Budapest, 1981)
  • S. Kovács: ‘Bartók’s System of Folksong Classification’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.83 (1981), 71–8
  • L. Vargyas: ‘Bartók and Folk Music Research’, New Hungarian Quarterly, no.83 (1981), 58–70
  • S. Erdely: ‘Folk-Music Research in Hungary until 1950: the Legacy of Bartók and Kodály’, CMc, no.43 (1987), 51–61
  • Y. Lenoir: ‘Le destin des recherches ethnomusicologiques de Béla Bartók à la vielle de son séjour aux Etats-Unis’, RBM, 62 (1988), 273–83
  • N. Ito: Barutoku: Minyou o ‘hakken’ sita henkyou no sakkyoukuka [Bartók’s activities as a folk-music researcher] (Tokyo, 1997)
  1. See also from The New Grove Dictionary of Opera: Bartók, Béla; Bluebeard’s Castle

Zenetudományi tanulmányok
Revue musicale
The New Oxford History of Music (Oxford, 1954-90)
Journal of Musicology
Die Musikforschung
Journal of Musicological Research
Music & Letters
Studies in Music [Australia]
Nuova rivista musicale italiana
Musical Quarterly
Schweizerische Musikzeitung/Revue musicale suisse
Musical Times
Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Music Analysis
Revue belge de musicologie
Fontes artis musicae
Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft
19th Century Music
Music Review
Journal of Music Theory
Modern Music
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Studia musicologica Academiae scientiarum hungaricae
Österreichische Musikzeitschrift
no. in Köchel, 1862; for items not in 1862 edn, no. from 2/1905 or 3/1937 given
Perspectives of New Music
Current Musicology